What’s Up October
I’m back with another What’s Up Wednesday post for the month of October. I am linking up with Mix&Match Mama, Sheaffer & Shay and a bunch of other bloggers to share what we have been up to this past month.
I’d love to hear what you have been up to this month too! Leave a comment sharing what you’ve been cooking, watching, reading etc…
What We’re Eating This Month
We took full advantage of the few cool days that fall teased us with this month to prepare some of the recipes we missed eating most during the summer months.
This yummy Pasta E Fagioli recipe from Favorite Family Recipes received the distinction of being the first batch of soup we made this fall. It is probably the soup my family requests the most.
Fall/Winter Meal Planning Tip: I tend to make soup at least once a week during the fall and winter to make meal planning easier. Often times, I will double the recipe so that there is always a batch of soup waiting in the freezer for nights that I need a quick and easy solution for what we should have for dinner. Soup is also a lifesaver on those nights that family members are coming and going throughout the evening because most of my soup recipes are crockpot friendly and can be kept warm throughout the night. Dinner can be served at any time and nobody has to reheat their meal.
I was introduced to Johnny Marzetti by my husband. In my opinion the recipe he grew up with lacked a little something. This Johnny Marzetti recipe from Neighbor Food has the added bonus of cheese…isn’t everything better with cheese?…, mushrooms and bell pepper in addition to the macaroni, ground beef, onion and tomato mixture my husband was used to eating.
It’s chili season! I return to the Beef Chili with Kidney Beans recipe in The New Best Recipe cookbook by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated year after year. Most adults gravitate towards the style of chili that they enjoyed as a child. I am no exception. My dad would often open a can of Dennison’s Chili Con Carne with Beans on nights he was in charge of dinner. This hearty homemade version reminds me of my childhood favorite because it includes both beef and beans and you really can stand a fork up in it!
You can find these recipes and many more on My Favorite Tested & Approved Dinner Recipes Pinterest Board. I continue to add recipes that my family enjoys to this board frequently. Follow along if you find we have similar taste in food.
What I’m Reminiscing About
Last October my daughter and I had the opportunity to hear Chelsea Clinton speak about how young people can make a difference while promoting her book Start Now? You Can Make a Difference. I was so impressed by her eloquence and passion for inspiring the younger generation. Coincidentally, I had another opportunity to hear Chelsea speak this month. My mom and I attended an event with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton in conversation about their new book, The Book of Gutsy Women. The evening was filled with both laugh-out-loud stories about their relationship as well as touching accounts of women that have made an impact in their life. This is an ideal book to keep in a convenient spot and read about just one gutsy woman at each sitting. I appreciate that the book included both well known and lesser known important female figures from history that I can now introduce to my own children.
What I’m Loving
The pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies my daughter baked last weekend. They are so moist, delicious and impossible to not eat. I’ve been having one (or two) every afternoon this week accompanied with a cup of tea. Perfection💕
What We’ve Been Up To
My daughter experienced her first high school homecoming. I was relieved that we found a dress just in the nick of time that we both approved and didn’t require alterations. We made a quick but fun trip to the pumpkin patch. We didn’t come home with a pumpkin, but we had a blast racing through the corn maze and snacking on kettle corn. My husband and I enjoyed getting dressed up and heading out to an adult only Halloween party.
What I’m Dreading
My son’s 13th birthday on November 15th! I always feel so sad the night before my children become another year older. It reminds me of how quickly time is flying. I always hold them a little more tightly and a little longer on their birthday eve in an effort to savor them exactly as they are at this moment in time. He is growing into such an amazing young man that I love to be around, but I miss being able to scoop him up in my arms.
What I’m Working On
We just made an appointment for our son and daughter to apply for their first passport. We have decided that this summer would be a great time to take the kids to Europe for the first time. My son’s top choice is to visit London and my daughter has long dreamt of seeing Paris. My husband and I visited both those cities a few years ago (read all about that here and here) and we would like to go back to Italy, where we spent our honeymoon almost 20 years ago. I’m starting to research which destinations are feasible and our best airfare and lodging options. If you have any advice for traveling as a family in those regions I would love to hear from you!
What I’m Excited About
My in-laws generously handed down their dining room set to us when my husband and I were first married and only owned a papasan chair. The original idea was that we would upgrade to something of our own choosing in a few years when we were feeling more settled. After 19 years of browsing for the perfect table, I think I have finally found the one that checks every box on my wish list. Funnily enough, it is very similar to what we currently have, but it has a lighter more distressed finish. I’m really excited about the prospect of updating our dining room and gathering around this gorgeous table.
What I’m Watching
The series Modern Love premiered on Amazon this month. Each episode is inspired by a real-life personal essay from the beloved New York Times column Modern Love. My husband and I have watched 4 of the 8 espisodes so far. I definitely prefer some episodes over others, but I think each one has something unique to offer the viewer and you can’t beat the all star cast.
What I’m listening To
I’m continuing to catch up on past Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard podcasts. I mainly chose to listen to interviews with his Parenthood costars this month. It was entertaining to hear some of the behind the scenes stories from his co-stars Mae Whitman, Erika Christensen and Joy Bryant. It was especially interesting to hear about Mae’s experience as a child actor, Erika’s insight into Scientology and Joy’s academic story. I also discovered that you can listen to Watch What Happens L!VE with Andy Cohen as a podcast if you are a fan of the TV show. The episodes are commercial free and roughly a half hour long. I like to listen to this podcast while out on a run because it helps the miles to fly by.
What I’m Reading
I finished reading Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers. I’m sad to say it was my least favorite of her books. Now, I am in the middle of Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. It is a beautifully written page turner and I find myself looking for spare moments throughout the day that I can sneak away and read or reaching for it at 4 am when I can’t get back to sleep.
What I’m Wearing
I have to confess that I made fun of the overall trend when it first reappeared and swore I wouldn’t be buying a pair. Oops! I am definitely eating my words now. First, I tried a pair of more traditional, loose fitting, blue denim overalls. I didn’t love the fit on me. Then, I tried a slim fitting, black pair of overalls and loved how they looked in the mirror. I’ve been amazed by how many different items they pair well with in my closet. Would you be interested in seeing a post about all the different ways I plan to wear my new overalls this fall and winter. If you don’t already own a pair, I would recommend at least trying a pair on the next time you are out shopping. You may find yourself as smitten as I am.
PS When I brought the idea of purchasing a pair of overalls up with my husband I completely expected him to make fun of the idea, but he surprised me by encouraging me to buy a pair because they were one of his favorite looks on me when we met in college…go figure.
What I’m Doing This Weekend
We are watching my son’s first basketball game of the season. I prefer watching basketball over every other sport he has played so far due to the fast pace. I also understand the rules of the game better than I understand soccer and football. Last weekend was supposed to be the season opener, but it was cancelled due to power outages. I can’t wait to watch him play!
What I’m looking Forward to Next Month
Thanksgiving! It is such a cozy holiday. I especially love waking up and eating a special brunch while watching the Thanksgiving Day parade with my family. It’s on my bucket list to see it in person one day.
What Else Is New
Many of you have asked how I have chosen to be active since the health club I frequented for the past decade closed. This month I have been splitting my time between StarCycle and Orangetheory. Both have a lot to offer.
StarCycle does an amazing job of making their clients feel both welcome and inspired. I appreciate how community oriented they are and love what a sweaty workout I get in just 45 minutes.
Orangetheory offers a different workout every visit, an early 5 am class for days that I am substitute teaching and really fun music. I feel like I have already noticed an improvement in my running pace due to the treadmill workouts.
I feel so grateful that I have found two great spots to continue exercising on a regular basis.
Have a safe and happy Halloween friends 🎃 My heart is especially with those being affected by the wildfires. I hope you will have a reprieve soon and that we have seen the worst of the fire season this year.
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