Silent Sunday

Here’s a review in pictures of our weekend with just a few words!  Enjoy and happy Monday!

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Last day of the three musketeers (Thursday) meant a library visit, playground time, and fro-yo!  All Holden’s requests!

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How Helen feels about Mommy going to work😦

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My loves

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Front porch coffee time (Dog on furniture, people on the floor…typical)

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8 mile run at the oceanfront = no foot pain!  So thankful!  P.S.  I have no idea how this happened except that I prayed about it.  I didn’t ice it, take meds, put heat on it, stay off of it…no explanation!

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Boogie Board Love at First Ride

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The fourth wheel to our Saturday night beach & dinner date

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How was your weekend?

Any fun Labor Day plans?  Is it too soon to talk about the weekend?!

Natalie

Back to School Decor & More!

The final countdown is definitely on!  Today is our last official full day of the three of us.  Tomorrow is Holden’s last day of summer camp.  His camp had an Olympic theme, so tomorrow is “closing ceremony” day.  Isn’t that the cutest!  We also visited the home daycare that Helen will be off to on Monday morning to drop off a crazy amount of supplies.  With all the forms and things to buy, I felt like we were sending her off to college or something!  I know I will be a hot mess on Monday morning for several reasons…1)  I will have to be up and out the door WAY earlier than my normal for the last 4.5 months (hoping to be in the car on the way no later than 6:45 each day!).  2)  I’ll be thinking/worrying about how the loading and dispersing of children will go for the Mr.  3)  I feel way attached to Helen (sorry Holden!  Mommy loves you!) at this point in her life versus how I felt about Holden and going back to work.  4)  I have to figure out how/when/where to pump for this continued breastfeeding project.  5)  I’m going to have OODLES to do when I get to work!

Let’s defer that hot mess-ness for a few more days!

On this last full day, we are planning to do a few simple summer favorites.  A trip to the playground and the library is on the agenda.  Holden also made a special request for a visit to our local frozen yogurt place.  I’m totally in agreement!  We plan on heading there after lunch.

In an effort to be a little more excited about back-to-school, I purchased some inexpensive decorations at Target back in July.  I really love how the few items look on our mantle.

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I always feel unsure how to decorate for this time of year.  Summer’s over, but fall stuff seems silly!  I am excited about lots of events this fall.  Let’s list a few and focus on some fun!

  • CHKD Make-a-Scarecrow – This is a great local event that benefits the children’s hospital.  All proceeds go to the hospital!  We’ve done it for the past three years.  My mom has always been a main participant, but we’ve had Aunt Dee Dee, my dad, and the Mr. join us for some years.  Register here!
  • Aunt Brooke & Uncle Michael’s Wedding – We’re looking forward to that in October!  Holden is the ring bearer.  We’ve already got him measured for his dapper outfit.
  • Pumpkin Carving – I can’t wait to do all these little things with Helen.
  • Halloween! – Our Granny is coming to visit for the big day.  Holden is dictating an Indian theme for everyone, and he is insistent that he needs a spear, tomahawk, bow & arrow, plus any other possible projectile weapon his brain can think up!
  • Hunting Season – Not my most favorite time of the year, but I am happy for the Mr.  He works hard all the time wether he’s at actual work or at home.  Plus, he’s a pretty good at the leisurely “family” stuff aka schlepping our stuff to the beach this summer and just generally packing the car (and unpacking!) for all of our trips.  Not to mention all the other things he does to make “us” work!  I hope he has a great hunting season!
  • Opera – My sister wants to go to the opera for her birthday.  I am not an opera person, but I’m always up for spending time with my mom and sister.  We’re hoping to go to The Barber of Seville when it’s in town in November.  If you’re local, buy tickets here!
  • Soccer Season – Holden (and we are too!) is so excited about soccer starting up again!  I was on the fence about signing him up for the fall season, but I think it will be great.  We got him some cleats this time which he is in love with (gently used cleats for $9 – great for feet that grow fast!  We got them at Play It Again Sports.).  He even played outside on Wednesday morning for about 40 minutes.  I got quite the view while I finished my coffee and breakfast!

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Isn’t that a good nail polish color?!  It’s Sonic Bloom from Sally Hansen Insta-Dry.  Get it here!  I have absolutely no time for nail polish that takes forever to dry!  

  • Thanksgiving – I just love Thanksgiving.  We visit family on the Eastern Shore for this holiday.  I confess that my most favorite part of Thanksgiving is that it is the official start of the CHRISTMAS SEASON.  After all, my name does mean “Christmas gift!”  ;)

 

What are you looking forward to in the fall?

Any favorite fall traditions?

How do you feel about the opera?  I’m thinking my mom will either hate it or have a Julia Roberts’ experience in Pretty Woman and love it.  Can’t wait to see!

Have a great Thursday!

Natalie

P.S.  I linked up with Annie and Natalie today!  Go over and check them out!

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Our Weekend + Non-Glamorous Life Things

Today I’m linking up for Tuesday Talk with Justine and all these other pretty ladies!

Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram

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We had such a relaxing and productive weekend!  I totally skipped out on my long run to make pancakes for my guys.  I love to do this during the school year but had taken a break from it over the summer.  We also sat on the front porch and finished our coffee while Holden ran around in his undies.  (Yes, I let my child run around half-naked.  I figure it’s okay since it’s before 8AM.).  Around 8:30, we headed out on what is most likely to be our last or next-to-last beach trips of the season.  It was beautifully clear on the water after the torrential rain of Friday night.  I always try to savor these summer days (even the heat!) and store them up for those yucky times like late February when everything seems bleak and cold.  IMG_4035.jpgIMG_4038.jpg

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How precious are those people pictured above?!?!  My heart could just explode!

The rest of Saturday was spent doing odds and ends around the house.  Sunday meant a long run for me.  It was kind of a sucky one.  I picked a trail that I don’t normally go on with beautiful views of the water and salt marsh.  There were a few little hills that challenged me in ways I’m totally not used to.  However, my foot really started to act up after about 4 miles (I was shooting for a little under 13).  I kept going though but made the mistake of stopping to walk around 9 miles.  Big mistake!  My foot started throbbing!  I may have shed a tear or two of just general frustration.  Every other part of me (including my mind!  which can be the hardest part!) was ready to go EXCEPT MY LEFT FOOT.  I have definitely changed my weekly workouts (what workouts?) and my outlook on the half.  I’m hoping to finish without walking as this seems to spell disaster in the foot and stomach department for me and just focus on completing my goal.  It is, of course, still my hope to set a new PR.  We’ll see.

Since my long run took a LONG time, we missed church.  Bummer!  Miss Helen and I did some grocery shopping at Sam’s Club and Trader Joe’s.  Then, it was cleaning for the Mr. and me.  Don’t you just adore weekend cleaning!??!  The house was absolutely filthy, so it actually felt kind of good to get it done.

This week has been full of real-life stuff like a mop bucket, sweet baby Helen smiles while she grabs ALL the things, a vacuum cleaner, a plugged milk duct, kisses from my favorite 4 year old, a 3 AM baby wake-up, chocolate chip cookies, several games of Mommy Monster (aka I chase Holden around the backyard making crazy sounds), reading time for me and the kiddos, and the never-ending meal prep.

How’s your week been so far?

What’s your favorite household chore?  Least favorite?

Have a great day!

Natalie

 

 

5 for Friday

This week has been me lounging about a bit…don’t get me wrong.  I still got some things accomplished, but I really tried to take it easy, not freak out over my dirty house, and eat some desserts with Holden {and Helen as she looks on longingly}.  Here are five things about my week!

{ONE}

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A successful 4 month well-check!  Yay for Helen Belen (<- a nickname I’m not sure she will appreciate down the road)!  Sidetone:  Holden’s nickname was/is Holden Bolden.  What can I say…I like rhymes!  Back to the doctor’s appointment, I was a little worried over Helen’s weight gain or lack thereof since she is such a spitter-upper.  However, the doctor reassured us that she is growing just fine on her little 25th percentile growth line.  She remains 25th for head, weight, and length – this is what she was at birth.  I confess that I’m having a little difficulty staying calm and trusting that the transition to daycare will go smoothly.  I know I will be upset to be away from her during the day, and I think I may possibly be more upset than I was when Holden went to daycare.  Not sure why…I think we bonded more initially?  Either way I’m super thankful to have had 4 months and a couple weeks home with this little girl!  I was a lucky duck with Holden as well.  We were home 5 months and a couple weeks together.  I am really going to stick to a set time to leave work each day, so I can get home to my sweets!  Although the beginning of the school year is so busy, I know where my priority is.

{TWO}

Children’s Clothing Shopping – I hate it!  I just do not get a thrill out of shopping for my clothes or my children’s clothes.  I thought I might like it more having a girl, but this doesn’t not appear to be true.  I’d rather just buy a bunch of stuff, get it over with, and avoid it until they grow out of stuff!  I lucked out and ordered Holden lots of pants from The Children’s Place when the site was doing its 50% off and free shipping.  Helen is more of a challenge due to her little peanut status.  She’s still wearing some 0-3 month stuff, but I’ve been buying some onesies, leggings, etc. in 3-6 month stuff.  The other frustration is “What will the fall weather in Virginia be like?!?!”  It could be hot as blazes or breezy and chilly.  I mean, I can barely dress myself appropriately!  Rant over!  I am thankful that I have the moola to buy clothes for my kids.  I guess I should stop whining then!

{THREE}

Alternate Vaccine Schedule – This is a heavily debated topic – vaccinations and kids.  I (I guess I should say “We” since the Mr. usually agrees with my stance on this) decided with Holden to fully vaccinate but on an alternate schedule.  This can mean lots of different things.  For us, it means that Helen will get half of the recommended shots at her well-check.  Then, I will bring her back during the office’s shot hours for the remaining ones at a later date.  I like to do it on the odd month (example:  go back for shots when she is 5 months), but we will be only waiting a week this time.  This way her shot record will be up-to-date when I turn it in to her daycare provider.  How do you feel about this?

You can read this review of Dr. Sears’ book here.  There is also a PDF to help the parent keep straight the vaccines.   More info from Dr. Sears’ website here.  

{FOUR}

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A “What you got in the pantry?” Cookie Recipe – After lunch today, I really wanted something sweet.  I knew we didn’t have a lot to pick from but the rainy weather and thunderstorm just seemed to be begging me to make cookies and color with Holden.  We poked around the kitchen until I found enough ingredients to make some almond butter + raisin cookies.  They turned out delicious and were the perfect companion for some coloring.

Almond Butter + Raisin Cookies (yields 9)

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking powder

5 tbsp. brown sugar

1/2 cup raisins

Mix all ingredients into bowl.  Plop on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake about ten minutes.  Check for “doneness” and let cool for two to three minutes on cookie sheet. Enjoy!

{FIVE}

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Pre – K Art Day at MOCA – On Thursday, we went to our very first Pre-K Art Day at MOCA, Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I figured why not for the $7 fee.  It lasted an hour and started with a read aloud.  I confess that I missed what exactly the book was about.  Helen and I were swaying and checking out art on the walls in the reading room.  I think it was something about looking at things in new ways/fresh perspectives.  Then, we did a “gallery walk”  – – aren’t we grown up and fancy?! – – -to see a mask.  The mask would be the inspiration for the kids art time.  Finally, we got to do some art!  Holden got really into his mask-making.  I just helped him cut out the eyes, mouth and nose.  The rest was all him.  I did notice a lot of people really forcing the kids to do a very similar representation of the mask examples that the presented displayed.  It kind of made me sad as some of the kids were much too young for that.  I saw a lot of caregiver/grandmas/etc. doing most of the work.  Sadly, I think the kids missed out on an opportunity to be creative and do the work!  Personally, I would much rather see what my kid can come up with versus copying a model.  Okay, all done!

How has your week been?

Any favorite art activities for kids?

What are your thoughts on clothes shopping?  Rather shop for you or for kids?

Natalie

“Are we there yet?!” Half Marathon Talk and End of Summer List

Hi there!  This week is zooming by!  Exactly seven days left of summer vacation {not counting the weekend} for us.  Whomp whomp.  This is how I feel about that…

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I actually sent this picture to the Mr. when he asked me what I was cooking for dinner on Monday night.  I am/was cooked out after Helen’s big weekend!  Daddy to the rescue!  He’s grilled up whatever I’ve put in front of him so far this week.  We’ve had grilled chicken and hot dogs.  I’m going to miss grilling season aka less dishes to wash season.

P.S.  The dogs pictured below were super good!  Courtesy of my fave, Trader Joe’s.

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So I was pretty cranky yesterday, and I absolutely hate that!  It was a terrible combination of a hot, muggy day that kept us inside AND a lot of organization to do.  Trying to organize with two kiddos (and Helen’s not even mobile!) will make one cra-zay.  I did manage to get our bathroom closet and linen/craft closet reorganized, consolidated, and just generally more presentable.  I also tortured myself more by having Holden try on ALL his pants, shirts, coats from last winter to determine what new stuff he needs.  Oh.my.  I’m not sure who had less fun, me or him.  I can happily report most his shirts still fit, but he did need all new pants.  Online shopping to the rescue!  Done!

I really think my crappy mood stemmed from not being about to do much in the exercise department recently.  I had a bunch of food pain after a long run last Thursday morning.  Please hide your eyes from the picture below if you are squeamish…

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My frightening toenails are all shades of yellow to purple.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to {eventually} lose the nails on the three middle toes.  :(  Not sure what is going on with my feet, but I know my mind and the rest of my body parts are willing to really go for it in this upcoming half-marathon.  My feet, however, are not cooperating.  Helen and I spent some quality time at the local running store today, and I did come home with a new pair of shoes.  Yes, I just bought new shoes in June.  This goes against every fiber of my fiscally conservative body.  However, I really don’t want to NOT be able to race in just a little over two weeks.  I bought a whole size bigger shoe.  I wear an 8.5 in regular shoes.  Previously, I’ve worn a 9 in running shoes.  I’m now up to a 10 in New Balances.  What?!?  Yes, I also switched brands to allow for more toe room based on how New Balance designs shoes.

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I immediately came home and tried them out on the treadmill while Helen napped.  Results:  Felt good…no toe pain…still side of the foot – left foot pain.  All in all, I’ll take it. I’m thinking that I will just have to take about 6 weeks off from running after the half to let my foot totally recuperate.  Not cool, but it’s also not cool to have pain.  I feel like I’m saying just a little longer…hold on just a little longer feet!  I can’t wait to run this race, and then just chill on running.  Today I ran 3.6 miles. Here’s my last mile…

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What else isn’t cool around here, you ask?  Our leaky chimney!  The Mr. determined that our paneling {yes, aren’t we cool!} is buckling due to a leak.  I’m very appreciative of his conscientious handy work, but I was less than thrilled when he decided to get a crow bar out at start whipping down this wall at 7:30.  I just wanted to watch the Olympics in peace with a brownie and my favorite guy {<-he was on a one way track to “fix this wall or bust”).

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Yikes.  This project continues tonight.

This morning I became painfully aware of how many loose ends that I want to tie up before I head back to work.  I was filling out Miss Helen’s pile of paperwork for daycare!  Let’s see how I’m doing on my “End of Summer” list!

House Stuff:

  • Make a chalkboard sign for the kitchen Delegated to the Mr. – He’s going to finish it up soon!
  • Redo hall pictures  Done!
  • Clean out summer clothes  Not yet
  • Put prints in photo album  Done!
  • Buy blender for baby food making  Done!

 

Me Stuff:

  • Renew blog?  Always torn about this!  I’m always really into it in the summer, but I tend to fall off in the other seasons.  Renewed!
  • Keep running (and lifting and yoga and just fitnessy stuff)  Trying to stay injury free!
  • Get ready to do budget recon in September – I plan on writing down EVERYTHING I buy in the month of September.  Oh.my.
  • Get a haircut! – I haven’t had one since March! Did this!
  • Organize school papers/materials that I brought home in April (seems like a lifetime ago)  Organized and ready to head back to school
  • Read 2 books for fun  Yes!
  • Eat as much watermelon as possible  Sadly my last two have been duds!  Maybe the season is over!

 

Holden’s Stuff:

  • Finish baby book – Yikes!  I really fell off the bandwagon with this one.  I’m trying to be inspired by Helen’s and finish up Holden’s.  😦  got to do this!
  • Get Holden’s school supplies  Mostly done – just need some pictures to send in with him
  • Get fitted for a little boy tux for Auntie Brookie’s wedding  Yes!  
  • Art Museum Pre-K Day  Tomorrow – excited to see what this is like!
  • Visit Farmer’s Market
  • Maybe another fishing trip???  He went clamming instead and loved it!
  • School shoes!  Next week
  • Fro-yo date – Mommy & Holden Next week

 

Helen’s Stuff:

  • Work on baby book  continuous
  • Outfit for Auntie Brookie’s wedding  purchased – not sure about shoe situation
  • Find some cute clothes to fit this growing baby!  Mostly did this!  Just need some bigger onesies and perhaps a few more leggings
  • Review baby food making business – I love this book!    On my list for the next couple days
  • Baptism and Reception – Planning, Decorating, Cooking, and Enjoying!  So did this!
  • Get everything ready for the daycare transition  Mostly ready – just need paperwork filled out by dr. at our upcoming 4 month appointment – we also need to buy diapers and diaper creme to go with her

 

I do have a couple more items to add to the list:  Roscoe for a mani/pedi {much to his dismay} and an inspection for my car.  I also have a couple more books I’d like to spend some quality time with.  I feel like the race is really on to use this time wisely and also enjoy time at home.

What end of summer activities do you take on?

Do you start a new calendar in January or with the school year, September?

Any fun back-to-school traditions?

Have a happy hump day!

Natalie

 

 

 

 

 

Helen’s Baptism Weekend

What an amazing weekend we had!  It was a lot of work, food, family time, talk, and just plain love!  I’m so thankful that our family and friends were able to get together to celebrate the baptism of our daughter, Helen Elizabeth, and the upcoming marriage of the Mr.’s sister and her fiancee.

Here’s a little recap:

Friday was super busy with food prep, packing, and driving over to the Eastern Shore.  The Mr. and I drove separately to allow for all the stuff (i.e. a huge cooler in the back of my car!) and to accommodate Helen’s nap times.  I did more food prep as soon as we arrived at my parents’ house.  So.Much.Mayo!

On Saturday, my mom and I did not exactly rise and shine early…but we did shake a leg!  The church was decorated all up by lunch time.  My mother-in-law also came into town with my sister-in-law and (almost) brother-in-law.  Then, it was back to my parents’ house for me AND more food prep for me!  The Mr. was off with my dad, brother, and Holden for a clamming adventure.  Miss Helen was with the girls, and she was pretty much an angel all day.

We were in such a hurry to wrap up the decorations and food prep, because we were all attending my sister-in-law’s surprise engagement party!  Although I helped a little (invitations and dessert), I mostly just showed up and enjoyed myself!  My father-in-law and mother-in-law did all the decor and took care of the food.  We had such a good time catching up with everyone.

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It was a relatively early bedtime for us though (after more Olympic watching!).  Sunday was quite a big day!  I’ve been planning this since…forever!  We decided that we wanted to have Helen’s baptism at my “home” church on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  The day started off slowly with a yummy breakfast courtesy of my mom that can whip up something delicious and pretty lightning fast.  However, the pace definitely picked up as we started getting everything and everyone ready for the big event.

We decided to dress the little girl at the church.  She spits up quite a bit, and I’m honestly concerned that it’s a bit too much.  Planning to talk to her doctor on Friday at the 4 month appointment…here’s the little girl!

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My sweet family!  I’m so thankful and can’t believe how blessed I am to be able to spend my days with them.  DSC_0681.JPGMy brother and sister are Helen’s godparents.  I can’t believe how grown-up we all are, but I think I mostly can’t believe how much I actually WANT to spend time with them now!  Parents of arguing siblings…there is hope!

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Love my mommy!  She is so my opposite in some ways, yet we are so on the same page in many important ways.  I’m so thankful for her help this weekend and just constant support in life.  Gosh, I really got a good one!

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The reception food was country ham biscuits, chicken salad, crackers, Neiman Marcus dip, Pasta Salad, and Summer Rainbow Salad.

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Fruit with Dip and Cake were the desserts!  The cake was almost too pretty to eat!

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Helen’s Meme made this delicious sweet treat.  Isn’t she talented?!?

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My sweet girl decided to be a team player and snooze during the reception which meant we could talk and eat!  What a keeper!  ;)

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Godfather and Auntie aka Kitchen Crew🙂

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When she’s fussy, this is her fave way to travel about…

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Pastor Claire married us and baptized both of our sweet children.  We are so thankful for her!

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C-Pa doing a little art with our dude!

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Breaking it down (no, really breaking it down and putting it all away) in the kitchen!

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Whew!  It was a lot of work, but it was definitely a labor of love.  I love spending time with family and friends!   We are so thankful for the “cloud of witnesses” who were present at Helen’s official admission into Christ’s family.  Life is good.

Natalie

A Meal with The Neighborhood Harvest

We really really go thorough some greens in a week!  I find that I’m often running out of salad fixings before it’s time for my weekly grocery store and/or Sam’s Club trip.  It’s kind of a pain too since I have to lug both kids in just to pick up some spinach or kale.  I was contacted by Rebecca at The Neighborhood Harvest about this very issue!

Check out this description of their services seen on their website…

Our greenhouse farm is not weather-dependent allowing us to deliver freshly-cut greens year round.  Delivery within a day of harvest yields plants with two-three times more shelf-life than store bought greens.  Yet we are comparably priced.

There is no other source of greens and lettuces that are: 

*Delivered to your door the day after harvest.

*Sustainable, Beyond Organic, Pesticide and GMO free.

*Locally grown in Suffolk, VA reducing your environmental footprint 

and supporting the local economy.

*The most incredible flavor!

To have my greens delivered, I just put a cooler out on my front porch.  Everything was packaged so nicely!  Once I opened up each container to really check out the goodies, it was easy to see that the quality was far superior to what I had been getting at my local grocery store or Sam’s Club.  We enjoyed these greens (baby kale, mesclun, baby spinach, green leaf lettuce, romaine, and some pea shoots!) in salads for several days.  The meal below was a veggie lover’s dream!

Chickpea Tofu BBQ sandwiches <-Recipe here!  Very good!  :)

Sweet Potato {oven} Fries

side salad with ranch dressing

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I would highly recommend this service!  Just think how inspired you would be to eat your veggies if they came fresh and super delicious to your doorstep!  Here’s a link to explain a little more how it works!

Have you ever tried a delivery service like this?

Blue Apron or any of those other total meal delivery services?

How was your experience?

Natalie