This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. Man, last week was One Of Those Weeks. Jason's work kept him late almost every night, or had him commuting to D.C., while the boys all started different after-school enrichment programs on different nights of the week (naturally!). They'd come home extra crunched for time and INSANELY hungry, having missed their usual after-school snack break. They needed dinner STAT and waiting for Dad to get home wasn't an option. It was One Of Those Weeks where we just had to sacrifice our family dinner ritual. It happens. Kids got an easy, early dinner from the freezer or pasta shelf. All as healthy and homemade-ish as I could manage (I do a lot of big-batch cooking on weekends for nights like that), but certainly nothing too challenging or exciting. Jason and I, on the other hand, didn't have to sacrifice much at all: Every night was Date Night, thanks to Blue Apron. Usually when we have One Of Those Weeks, we end up ordering a lot of takeout or delivery, which is 1) expensive, and 2) too easy to blow through 2,500 calories in one sitting because oh look a two-for-one deal on large... Read more →


This post is sponsored by The Bouqs Company. I waited a long time to take the Christmas decorations down. The house looked so bright and cozy with them around, and they made me happy. I mean: Eventually, the number of pine needles all over the floor became less bright/cozy/happy-making and I finally dragged up the boxes and put everything away. Luckily, I had the perfect replacements already sitting on my doorstep. VALENTINE’S DAY HERE I COME. (Seasonal Affective Disorder say whaaaat? It's totally spring up in this place!) Bouqs.com is officially my go-to site for ordering fresh flowers now -- for myself or friends and family, since the flowers 1) aren't cut until you order them, so they last an impressively long time, 2) are absolutely bonkers gorgeous, duh, 3) are grown at sustainable, eco-friendly farms because I really do love this crazy planet of ours, and 4) giving/getting flowers that were grown on an ACTUAL VOLCANO is just kinda badass. (Third-party certified by both The Rainforest Alliance and my cat.) (Just making sure I trimmed the stems properly, of course.) Yep. Those'll do. (I kept the BB-8 ornament out. BB-8 just feels like a year-round decoration.) BAM (Officially sense... Read more →


This post is sponsored by thredUP. I was folding Ike's laundry recently and came across some clothing that had...seen better days, to put it nicely. Shirts and pants with permanent stains, worn-out seams, holes started to emerge at the knees and elbows. All clothing that had been passed down to him; most of it previously worn by both of his older brothers. Hand-me-downs are a wonderful thing, but we're definitely stretching the limits of them at this point. Ike so rarely gets new clothing that's just for HIM, he gets irrationally excited over new pajamas or a cheap souvenir t-shirt. One morning he came bursting into my room to thank me for the new bag of socks I'd emptied into his drawer. Socks! New ones! Look Ma, no holes! Poor third child. Enter thredUP. I shopped at thredUP a lot back in the day when it was a parent-to-parent kids' clothing swap service. It's since evolved to a really amazing online consignment store, packed with both kids' and women's clothing -- along with a pretty big selection of high-end and designer brands. (Which always makes my clicking finger start to itch.) The kids’ section is GREAT because I can buy... Read more →


This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. Anybody remember all this, from the good old days, back before somebody taught Ezra how to put a hand on a popped-out hip, punctuate every sentence with a pointed "OKAY?" and a facial expression dripping with bershon? The little chef costumes had a pretty good run, but alas, he is officially far too gigantic for them now. Ike will wear it from time to time, unless Ezra hides in a fit of possessive pique GOD HE'S ONLY EIGHT SWEET MERCIFUL ADOLESCENCE. He recently got a styling new upgrade, though. (It was very important that I photograph him holding this pear, for some reason. He had a lot feelings about this pear.) Even more exciting was a proper grown-up cookbook, which he decided had to be for him, because Blue Apron must know what a good cook he is. I mean, they sent him an official chef-in-training apron and everything. And their Winter Cookbook, full of many of our favorite recipes and a whole bunch of new ones (including DESSERTS, which YAYYAYYAY). (The mushroom steam buns with purple potato salad are at the top of EVERYBODY's dinner wish list now. And I already have... Read more →


This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. With lots of travel planned and our garden overflowing, we decided our standard Blue Apron delivery of three meals a week might get a little overwhelming, so we switched to the four-person, two-meals-a-week Family Plan a few times this summer. One of the more charming surprises of this particular plan (besides all the delicious foooooooood), was the inclusion of a weekly "Kids' Cooking Camp." Every week, our box included cooking activities, games and challenges for the boys to try. It was a really great idea. One week covered easy food prep techniques (peeling garlic, washing produce, rolling pizza dough), another week challenged us to keep the dinner table a family-focused, screen-free zone (that was harder on the grown-ups than the kids), yet another taught kids what grows in what season and why it matters; all summer kids were encouraged to submit recipes and photos and stay hands-on in the kitchen. The best week, according to my kids, was this one: Not only were the recipes a hit (Moroccan lamb & beef pitas and a crispy cod with corn on the cob), but tucked inside our box of ingredients was a packet of pea... Read more →


This post is sponsored by Wisdom Panel® Canine DNA Tests. Beau's original adoption listing said he was a mix of Miniature Schnauzer and Yorkshire Terrier. We have no idea if his owners gave that description when they surrendered him to the shelter, or if it was just a guess made by a vet or the rescue group or what. We do know that the "Schnauzer" part seemed to mostly be based on his pre-haircut appearance, because once his fur was groomed it was clear his actual snout wasn't all that Schnauzer-like after all. His foster mom agreed, and added her personal guess of terrier breeds mixed with wire-haired Dachshund, based on his legs and feet. Our vet said he was all terrier: Yorkie, Jack Russell, Cairn, and probably a good smattering of others. When I would play around with online tools and surveys based on his physical appearance, I would get wildly weird results, like Pomeranian and Shih Tzu. The guessing game can be fun at first, but also hugely frustrating. What ARE you, dog? I've been sent photos of several Beau doppelgangers from all over the country -- crazy identical pups, right down to eyebrow coloring and the flippy... Read more →


This post is sponsored by Hologic, Inc., the makers of the Genius 3D MAMMOGRAPHY exam. This Sunday is National Cancer Survivors Day, and while cancer has managed to take quite a lot from our family over the years, I’m super grateful for the One That Got Away. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer back when I was pregnant with Noah. A lump, a mammogram, a biopsy, a mastectomy. A terribly all-too-common story—one in every eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime—albeit with the silver lining of early detection. When breast cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent. Of course, when you’re in the throes of a suspected cancer diagnosis, it’s always a terrifying timeline. How long has it been there before anyone noticed? How fast is it growing while we wait for results? How early is early enough? This year marks her 11th year as a breast cancer survivor. She was at the hospital the day Noah was born, and has been cancer-free ever since. She’ll be spending this Sunday here at our house, celebrating Ike’s birthday. As my own 40th birthday looms ever closer, that “one in eight” statistic looms larger.... Read more →


This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. I just had to do math on my fingers to figure out how long we've been using the Blue Apron service. It was either that or count the recipe cards, which, I mean: Hahahaha. It's been about 19 months, a whole bunch of posts and even more awesome meals. Less shopping and food waste, fun recipes to choose from, excellent and unusual ingredients, impeccable customer service. And my hippie side appreciates how hard the company works to constantly improve/streamline/reduce the packaging and sources food from sustainable fisheries and humane, responsible farms. Definitely makes how CONVENIENT the service is feel like even less of a trade-off. (And yes, I am typing this praise of my own genuine authentic free will and not because of some required list of talking points. SO THERE.) And now, for something maybe slightly different, I present 20 completely random cooking and life lessons that Blue Apron has taught me: 1) My children will eat ANYTHING if it's encased in a calzone. 2) Make kiddo-sized calzones for double the dinner yield, reheat the leftovers in the oven during breakfast, wrap in foil, and toss in their lunchboxes. Your children will... Read more →


This post is sponsored by CANIDAE®. When we adopted Beau, his foster mom gave us a small container of his current food, just enough for us to transition him over to the food of our choice. She said this, then paused, and asked if we'd mind telling her what food we planned to use. When I told her I was thinking about trying CANIDAE®, she looked visibly relieved. "OH GOOD," she said, before going on to describe some other dog food options using some rather colorful adjectives. She also gave us a slow feeder bowl, as Beau was prone to scarfing food down so quickly he'd barf it all back up. He was also highly protective of his food, so we'd need to remind the kids not to interfere while he ate. All pretty standard rescue behavior; after all, he'd been one of waaaay too many dogs at his original home, and was very underweight when he was surrendered to the shelter. He shared his foster home with four other dogs, all of which had their own sad histories of neglect and not enough food. And sure enough, we brought him home and gave him some food, and even with... Read more →


This post is sponsored by The Bouqs Company. So the lovely folks at The Bouqs Company asked if I would like to write another post for them, and like last time, included codes for two of their glorious sustainably and volcano-grown bouquets as part of the deal. Unlike last time, however, I did not order the flowers for myself. Okay, that sentence makes it sound used my good fortune to spoil my mom or my sisters or surprise one of my friends. Which would have really nice of me! They probably would have really appreciated that! Had I done that. Which I did not. No, this time I simply forwarded the codes to my husband, like OH HEY LOOKIT COUGH HINT HINT WHEEZE. Happy early Mother's Day. Or happy random Tuesday. Your call, honey. Now Jason is a wonderful husband who loves to send gifts and little surprises, and who definitely spoils me and the boys (and now Beau, who already owns more toys and treats than most newborn babies). And oftentimes those impulses make it hard for him to follow basic instructions, so saying "go to Target for paper towels and a roll of wrapping paper and THAT'S IT'... Read more →