To My Friends & Family…

As many of you already know, I am a very sentimental person with lots of love to share. I feel I am so lucky and fortunate to have so many wonderful friends and family, and my heart bursts thinking about all of the incredible people in my life.

We support and love each other unconditionally.

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We help each other to stay positive when life gets rough and together we roll through the good and the bad times in our lives.

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We celebrate our victories.

We talk about our dreams. We encourage each other to reach towards our dreams.

We learn more about ourselves more and more each day and develop into the people we were meant to be. We begin to learn that we shape our own destiny and that the only person holding us back from our dreams is ourselves and our own self-doubt.

When distance keeps us apart and we are able to reconnect, we act like no time has passed and pick up right where we left off.

We laugh.

We cry.

We push each other outside of our comfort zones to help each other grow.

We watch The Bachelorette “together” but in separate houses and some of us in different time zones and call it a girls’ night so that we can feel like we are hanging out together.

We remind ourselves that everything happens for a reason when life doesn’t go as planned and that it will all work out in the end.

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The bonds of friendship are extremely strong. They hold up to life’s demands, distance, and time. I know no matter what life brings me, I will be able to get through it with the help of friends and family, and I feel so lucky to be able to say that.

I am not one to be shy about saying “I Love You.” If I feel it, I will say it. You never know which day will be your last, so make sure you tell the people you love just how much you love them.

To all of my friends and family: I love you all so much and am so blessed to have each and every one of you in my life. Thank you for loving me entirely and sharing your lives with me.

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Broccoli White Bean Soup

Hi there! How is everyone’s weekend panning out so far?

Friday was a great day. It began with a perfectly ripe banana with peanut butter that I tossed in the microwave for 20 seconds to make drizzly, and a little bit of honey.

I did a couple of odds and ends around the house while anxiously awaiting Kate’s arrival. Oh yes, my friend who is in town that I mentioned yesterday is the wonderful Kate. She was one of my bridesmaids, we were roommates in college, and our friendship goes back to 8th grade.

She recently moved out of state and I miss her dearly. She’s home for the weekend so we made plans to go for a nice long walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the gorgeous fall weather.

Before we headed out, I snacked on a LARABAR Über Roasted Nut Roll bar. The kind folks of LARABAR sent me these four to sample.

The verdict on the Über? MMMmmm, so good! It tasted like a healthy version of a salted nut roll. Yes, please. I’m excited to try the rest of the flavors! It did a nice job of holding me over for a couple of hours too.

Kate and I were out for over an hour, walking and talking, catching up, and taking in the beautiful sights and smells of fall. It made me so incredibly happy to see her. It was bittersweet saying good bye as always, BUT I will be seeing her again in about one month because I will be journeying out to Georgia to visit her! I can’t wait! I love love love her, my Katie boo boo boo. 🙂

Throughout the afternoon I tackled random projects around the house. I organized the front closet, did some laundry, reorganized our kitchen, and brought up wedding gifts that we still had in the basement that we now have room for upstairs.

Then it was time to get dinner brewing. On the menu: Broccoli White Bean Soup. While I got to concocting the soup, Dana got to work making a fire in the fireplace. Our first one of the season.

So pretty! A short while later, dinner was served and it was enjoyed in front of the fire.

Warm soup in front of the fire in my sweatpants with my hubby and dog. Does it get more comforting than that? The soup turned out fantastic. I am very proud of it and excited to share the recipe with you all.

Broccoli White Bean Soup
Print
Recipe type: Dairy-Free; SCD-Friendly
Serves 3-4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups cooked cannellini beans or other white bean
  • ½ Tbsp. dried thyme
  • dash of nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 32 ounces lower sodium chicken broth*
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Diced turkey bacon (optional)
  • *substitute vegetable broth if vegetarian
Instructions
  1. Use olive oil to lightly coat medium soup pot.
  2. Add onion and garlic; saute for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add beans, thyme,nutmeg, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and broth; mix well.
  4. Use immersion blender to puree onions and beans in the pot.
  5. Add broccoli, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Use immersion blender and pulse 1-2x to puree some of the broccoli, but leaving most of the pieces whole.
  7. Spoon soup into bowls, and top with parmesan cheese and bacon (optional).

The rest of the night was spent relaxing with the men of the house, eating some cocoa banana soft-serve, and hitting the hay early.

Now, I am ready to take on another productive day. I hope you all have a snazzy Saturday!

xoxo, M

 

Dance Like No One’s Watching

I love to dance.

I began taking dance classes when I was three years old at a community center in the area. At my first recital, the girl standing next to me during the routine literally stood next to me the entire time. She was terrified. I was in my glory. Sure the only reason I knew what I was doing was because my dance teacher was off in left stage dancing the routine for us to copy, but I still did my best to hold my own. I was shy, but there was something about being on that stage that really made me feel confident.

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I continued to take classes at the community center for a few years, and then took a couple of years off to give gymnastics a shot. I love that my parents encouraged me to try many activities, and then gave me the freedom to decide which ones I liked and wanted to continue. Gymnastics was great and all, but after a short while I knew I wanted to go back to dance.

My aunt Marie (aka my second mom) who lived just a block away from my family growing up, had her daughters Betsy and Steph (my cousins) enrolled in a dance studio in the neighborhood. I had gone into the studio to watch my cousins dance and my mom and Marie got to talking. The next thing I knew I was enrolled at the same studio!

I had to “audition” to determine which level to be placed in. All I wanted was to be in Betsy’s class even though she was a year younger than me. At first I was placed with girls my age, but talked to the owner of the studio and eventually she put me in the same class as Bets. At the studio we took tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop, musical theater, and more.

Getting into the studio was the best thing that could have happened to me at that point. I fell in love with dance. And so began the millions of memories…

  • Dance camps
  • Nutcracker
  • Recitals
  • Competitions
  • Red lipstick
  • Costumes
  • Endless hours rehearsing
  • Choreography
  • Blood, sweat, tears…

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And the best part of it all is that I shared these memories with my best friend. Throughout the years my friendship with Betsy grew stronger and stronger as we continued our dance journey together. She was always there for me to show me steps I wasn’t quite understanding, keep me focused, laugh with me, cry with me, and stand up for me.

Our friendship has only gotten stronger over time. I was ecstatic when I found out she would be joining me at Mankato State for college, she was my Maid of Honor in my wedding, and my lovey bug to this day. Whenever we get together even just to hangout in our sweats and eat puppy chow, I am just the happiest gal ever. I love that girl so much.

We continue to shake our groove thing whenever we get the chance.

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I am so lucky to have so many wonderful memories of dance and to have been able to share them with Bets. xoxoxo

So speaking of shakin’ it together when we get the chance…

On Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to walk down memory lane and take a dance class offered at my studio for alumni. I was extremely hesitant about going being that I hadn’t been to an actual dance class in about 8 years (not including Zumba, aerobics, etc.), but Bets and my other cousin Emmy had taken the class the previous weeks and convinced me that I had to join them. They said not to worry, just come have fun and I promise you will not feel silly if you can’t touch your toes or do a pirouette.

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I pulled out my leotard and dance shoes and headed to class with the girls. We jumped right into the warm up full of stretches that used to be a lot easier. Then, we moved into strides and leaps across the floor just like old times. Finally, we began some choreography. The theme for the week was Michael Jackson and we were taught a jazz dance to “Smooth Criminal.” I picked a great week to go, huh?! Love me some MJ.

I was very appreciative of our teacher (also an alumni) who took the steps very slow for us folks who were kicking the dust off of the old dancin’ shoes. I was sort of able to remember the steps and crank out the routine. What a great way to keep the mind sharp! By the end of the class I felt enlightened, nostalgic, and very sweaty. I proved to myself that I can still do it. Sure I may not be as flexible but I still have rhythm and can move, and you better believe I won’t stop dancing!

You can find me on the dance floor at every wedding, dancing around the house like no one is watching, Zumba’ing, and now, taking classes time and again at my old dance studio. Dance gives me such incredible energy and is a great stress reliever too. There’s a song for every mood you’re in. It’s powerful.

“If you get the choice, to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”

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I am off to enjoy the weekend! Have a wonderful day my friends. Much love to you all.