48 Hours Unplugged

I’ve never experienced the feeling of time slowing down until last week.

I had the privilege of spending a few days in (relatively) upstate New York with two of my best friends, Fiona and Rachel. Fiona was so generous as to let us stay at her 106-year-old (!!) summer house, located in a secluded yet beautiful town.

Monday

On Monday, Fiona and Rachel drove down from Boston to my house. I cooked us a little rather large din din of caprese chicken + spicy pork chops + roasted broccoli (which was epic, not gonna lie) + avocado toast. Lots of leftovers for the ‘rents!

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plus avocado toast!

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beautiful food, even more beautiful people

I also made them one of my favorite recipes of all time— Amanda’s banana bread mug cake. Alongside some of Emily’s delicious peanut butter chocolate chip cookies + glasses o’ milk!

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Tuesday

After spending a night at Fiona’s house, we ate breakfast and then drove up to her summer house on Tuesday afternoon.

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made some banana oatmeal for the ladies

Rachel DJ’d in the car, and it was a classic grooves-mobile fest with backseat dancing and off-pitch sing-alongs.

And in no time, we arrived at the summer house!

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Fiona calls it her “heaven on earth”, and I can 100% see why she does. There may not have been any cell service or wifi, but there were crystal clear waters, breathtaking views, and foliage for dayzzzz.

We were only at her summer house for 2.5 days, but it felt like we were there for a week. Fiona did warn us that time slows down at this place, but I didn’t believe her until I experienced it.

Look at how cute it is!

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When we arrived, Fiona gave us a tour of the grounds, and then we went into town to buy groceries for the next few days.

The ONE stressor I had during the trip was when I got a call from my job (which I start today) about a form that I never received via email but that I needed to fill out, sign, and send by the next morning. It was actually a miracle that we were in town getting groceries when I got that call, because if we were back at the summer house, I never would have known because there’s no service there. Thank God for smart phones, because I was able to access my email, fill out the form, sign it digitally, and send it back in time.

Anyway.

Chips, salsa, PB&J’s and salads for lunch!

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Followed by a lovely little hike to the waterfall.

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self-timing it on a waterfall

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UGH so cool.

The rest of the night involved reading, playing Clue, eating chili (that Fiona’s mom made and sent up with us!) and s’mores!

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Chili and fires in the summer? Ya. ‘Twas pretty chilly up there actually (plus no heat). Rachel saved our cold butts with her fire-making skills. So Midwestern.

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*ding*

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I made “fluffernutter” s’mores with peanut butter instead of chocolate — 10/10 recommend

We snuggled into our beds by 10:30 pm (!!!). After some girl chat, we fell asleep to the sound of a legit babbling brook that flows by her house. People pay good money for that sound!

Rachel and I could not stop saying, “This is a dream. This is out of a novel.”

Wednesday

In an effort to gain feeling in my frozen feet in the morning, I went outside for some moves by the babbling brook. I did Jess’ lean legs workout (with some modifications).

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I still couldn’t feel my feet after I finished the workout. They were ice cubes.

Nothing a good breakfast can’t fix though! Pancakes for breakfast!

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We made buttermilk pancakes from a mix (added chocolate chips and/or banana) and ate them with a slew of toppings (peanut butter with the richest full fat vanilla Greek yogurt for me) and glasses o’ milk in cute mason jars. Eaten out on the porch. DREAMZ I TELL YOU.

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After breakfast, we spotted beavers, played Sequence, did each others’ hair, tanned on the deck, and plunged ourselves into the freezing cold river as per Fiona’s tradition.

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so cold, so exhilarating

We had a late lunch of tacos with all the works.

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Followed by more reading, relaxing, and probably some napping. We decided on movie night with s’mores for dinner.

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“You look like a frog.” – Rachel

We did a double feature of The Notebook and Hairspray. It was my first time watching both! (I know, I know. I’m only an eon behind on watching The Notebook.)

Thursday

Our last day at the summer house started with leftover pancakes…

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…cleaning, packing, reading (I finished The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis— also 10/10 recommend!), hiking…

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photos cannot do this view justice

…and a farewell to the summer house (for now!).

Back at Fiona’s house (and back to 432872 notifications on our phones), we ate a light dinner. Then Fiona took us to Bellvale Farms Creamery, aka the most incredible ice cream place of all time.

First of all, the drive to this place was beautiful. Secondly, we passed by the actual Bellvale Farm (like, we basically said hi to the cows that made the milk in our ice cream).

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Thirdly, their ice cream flavors were excellent. I had “Calf Trax” (vanilla ice cream with peanut butter swirl and mini peanut butter cups) + cookies ‘n’ cream in a waffle cone. No words. Fourthly, this is the view right outside their doors:

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I won’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the summer.

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Rachel and I are gonna make sure Fiona gets engaged at this spot.

Our night ended with watching The Intern (such a sweet movie!) and deep chats.

Friday

I think I’m allergic to Fiona’s cat (whose meows sound like a whining human) because I scratched my eye so hard in my sleep that I woke up with my eye half shut and swollen. Whoops.

I made us some more oatmeal and then we headed out for some tennis! Fiona is actually good at tennis, Rachel can hold a good volley, and I spent most of my time fetching the tennis balls that I hit out of the court.

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For our last meal together, we went to Fiona’s favorite local Mexican restaurant. We shared guac to start, and I ordered a chicken and a vegetable taco.

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fabulous

I am beyond grateful to have spent such a rejuvenating and beautiful week with two of my best friends. Thank you so much again, Fiona. ♥︎ I miss you both already!

Something valuable I learned from those 48 hours unplugged is that, truly, you have so much time when you’re not always on your phone/playing music/checking emails. I was able to focus on one task at a time, reflect, and do a lot without the distraction of technology. I’ll keep all this in mind as I start work today (I’ll talk more about that later!) and continue on with my life.

So tell me:

Have you ever spent an extended amount of time in a place with no service?

What was the best thing you did last week?

Do you have a special place where you like can retreat? 

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Nothing Like A Little Friendly Competition

Everything huuuuurts.

This weekend was packed with good and fun things (at the expense of sleep and my safety at times), which explains why I’m posting this today instead of yesterday. What’s been happenin’!?

Friday

‘Twas a pretty standard day— class, bible study, gym (two rounds of this workout— another one of my faves @Jo), work, “trying” to do homework in my dorm on a Friday night.

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I was actually in a good mood

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they had avocado! *praise hands*

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very much wanted to eat the chicken I cooked at work

Saturday

Are you ever up in the middle of the night and tired enough that you can’t read a book but “on” enough that your brain can’t shut up? That was me this day.

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I must keep telling myself that I am indeed thankful for functioning kidneys.

Saturday was a big day because some folks at the Catholic Center (myself included) participated in a fun, athletic competition called the “St. Sebastian Cup”. My friend Lauren sent me a snapchat of herself that morning making a protein shake with the caption: “Are you scared?”

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I had overnight oats, so no, I was not scared.

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The competition consisted of three games of Ultimate Frisbee…

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copyright Cecilia R. Photography

My team didn’t score a single point in all three games… but we had HEART. Unfortunately, heart doesn’t get you points.

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copyright Cecilia R. Photography

But then there was this banana relay race. We all had to jump across a field and back with a banana between our knees, then run with the banana between partners without using our hands, and finally eat the banana.

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copyright Cecilia R. Photography

EXPERT. But only good enough for second place.

Next came the painful part. We played two games of capture the flag, and I may or may not have been plowed over by one of my teammates when we were both sprinting to tag the same person. It all happened in slow motion, and before I knew it, we were both eating dirt and my right hip was talkin’ to me.

But as any elite athlete would, we carried on with the competition.

Lastly, we had tug o’ war with a thin, slippery nylon strap. Safe? Not at all. Blood was shed. Maybe it helps that St. Sebastian is a martyr? (Too dark?)

Anyway, my team got fourth (aka last), and Rachel’s team got first.

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copyright Cecilia R. Photography

(*cough* stacked team *cough* what?)

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It was a mighty fun time though, and we all went to the dining hall to feast on good food, including some bomb bread pudding.

At night, I attended a Women’s Retreat about being uniquely made. It was a lovely, heartwarming way to end a hard day of “friendly” competition (things got pretty spicy at some points!).

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The lovely ladies running the retreat made us vegan sweet potato chili! I un-veganized it with cheese and sour cream 🙂

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freshly baked chocolate banana bread ♥︎ 

I did some reading for class back at home afterwards, and I kept falling asleep. Rachel kept waking me up and motivating me to finish my homework like a good friend. But I wanted to sleep.

Sunday

I think it’s safe to say that everyone who participated in the St. Sebastian Cup woke up moaning in pain on Sunday morning. Convo with my girl, Lauren:

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The pain was even worse two days later.

But Sunday was a beautiful day for productivity, Mass, and National Siblings Day!

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banana oatmeal with almond butter for breakfast

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not a cloud in the sky

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finding places to stand and do work outside

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took the siblings out for dinner (Rachel is the “adopted sister”)

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roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, spinach, balsamic pizza

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berry + vanilla creme crepe

And then there was Monday, which was a solid day all around. We had stretch and massage day in dance class, so that was GREAT.

Hope you all have a fantastic week! Play outside and get into some friendly competition (just be careful).

So tell me:

What is your favorite competitive athletic activity?

Is there something that you get very competitive about?

What did you do this weekend? 

Behind the Scenes #15: Hit the Spot

Thinking-Out-Loud

With the master out-loud thinker, Amanda 😉

1) You know when dinner just hits the spot like no other? That happened to me last night.

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Whole wheat tortilla, avocado, spinach, turkey chili (thanks, Mom!), cheese, and Greek yogurt.

Praise Jesus, this was incredible! The addition of Greek yogurt took this meal to a whole new level. I had always been skeptical of using it as a replacement for sour cream, but now I am never turning back.

2) I went to the gym for the first time in about two weeks yesterday, and it was nice change of pace to be doing some physical activity besides dance again. Not that I don’t love to dance (duh), but it was somewhat torturous fun to be doing some pistol squats again!

3) I can’t believe I have to make a college decision by the end of this month. It’s like I just graduated middle school and went to that awkward 8th grade dance in the school gym. Oh wait, prom will basically be like that too, except with longer dresses at a country club. Anyway, May 1st (college deposit day) will sneak up on us before we know it, I’m sure. In the words of my friend, Kristi, that will be “Happy you-have-to-decide-where-you-want-to-spend-the-next-four-years-of-your-life day!!!”

4) Can this weather stay forever? I didn’t know if we would ever emerge from the seemingly perpetual winter, but the temperatures are perfect right now— sweaters can be worn or not worn, and you’ll be comfortable either way. Perfect for a…

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C’mon, that was a good one. 😉

5) Speaking of which, spring break is in NINE DAYS. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Although, I’m starting my break a little bit early next Thursday afternoon to leave for my last college visits. Wee! I also have two field trips next week, so I’ll only be in school for two days. Hacking life right now.

6) <— The number of tries it takes for Alison to scan a four-page document onto her computer. *Sigh*

7) How do you pronounce crayon? Do you say “cray-on” or “cran”? My dance friends and I were having a debate over this last week, and the thought resurfaced when I was watching Ashley’s Accent Vlog yesterday. I say “cray-on,” and I have no idea whether I got that from living in California, Kansas, or New York.

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According to this map, I got it from NY.

8) I am in desperate need of a manicure and pedicure. My toes post-Benefit (and post-pointe class) are gross, and my finger nails are just dull. I’m one of the few among my friends who just cannot keep my finger nails long without them chipping and constantly getting dirt underneath them (EW). Maybe I’m just too darn domestic that my labor shows through my unfortunate-looking hands. Just kidding, Mom has been doing most of the spring cleaning around the house lately (thank you)! I’m just too low maintenance to file my nails every day, so I just have to keep them short.

9) I have no more thoughts to think out loud for now. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday!

So tell me:

What did you eat for dinner last night?

Favorite taco toppings?

How do you say crayon? 

WIAW: Weekend Snow Days

I can’t believe I almost forgot to write this post.

It’s this crazy snow that’s throwing me off. We didn’t have a snow day (or 2-hour delay or early dismissal) yesterday, but ALL the surrounding schools had a day off. People think it’s because the school sort of messed up last week by calling a snow day when there was really nothing sticking to the roads, so now they’re trying to make it up. I’m not complaining if that means we don’t have to come in for a make up day sometime in June. The only issue is that the roads were actually dangerous and icy yesterday. I feel bad for school superintendents— they have to depend on meteorologists that are already pretty unreliable, and then a whole school district depends on them. Rough.

Speaking of snow days, this WIAW is a day of eats from Saturday and Sunday, which were spent inside mostly because of the white stuff. More time inside meant more time to make yummy food though! 🙂

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Thanks for hosting as always, Jenn!

Breakfasts

Saturday:

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Best (yet ugliest) breakfast: overnight oats with sunflower seed butter and banana mixed in (and unpictured cereal for a crunchy topping!)

Sunday:

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Greek yogurt, banana slices, crumbled banana nut muffin, and pepita sunseed butter

Lunches

Saturday:

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edamame

Salmon on greens + plum + plenty of freeze dried edamame (<— stuff is like crack)

Sunday:

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Salmon on greens again + avocado toast + probably more edamame

Snacks

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Fluffy cornbread muffin straight out of the oven

Anddddd edamame. Edamame. Edamame.

Dinners:

Saturday:

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Chili and more cornbread

Sunday:

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Pork fajitas!

Desserts

Saturday:

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Baby froyo + a banana nut muffin fresh out of the oven

Sunday:

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Monkey bread! (This plus a couple more… 😉 )

I definitely had a happy belly after these wonderful weekend eats!

Happy Wednesday (last one before Christmas)!!

So tell me: Has it snowed where you live? What is the best thing you ate this weekend? What is the best dessert you’ve eaten recently?

Snowed In + Alvin Ailey Night {MIMM #16}

This weekend was everything I needed and more— family time, rest, exercise, and good food. God is so good.

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Linking up with Katie on this Marvelous Monday!

‘Twas a snowy and icy weekend here in New York. Everything was getting cancelled left and right— no dance, no Sunday school, no babysitting. Part of me was thinking “darn,” but the other part of me was doing a jiggy dance because that meant I had more time to unwind and spend time with my family. The latter part of me was dominant. 😉

Luckily, company’s evening at Alvin Ailey on Friday was not affected by the weather. My friends and I took a train down to the city for our 4:30 Horton technique master class with Milton Myers, a prestigious modern dance teacher who is currently on faculty at Juilliard and Alvin Ailey/Fordham! Our dance school has been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to take a class with him every year for a while now, and it’s always amazing! The class is open to company members and anyone in the senior master class program.

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Passing through Columbus Circle en route from the subway to the studio.

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Selfie before class. Don’t let my wide eyes fool you— I was trying to nap.

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Milton is in the middle of the standing row. His super talented demonstrator, Aiya (<— not quite sure how to spell her name), is to my right in the bottom row. (Photo compliments of the executive director of my dance school.)

We quickly changed into normal-people clothes and walked over to Bocca di Bacco for a delicious Italian dinner. Some of our family members (seated at a different table) also joined us for dinner and the show.

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Most of the company girls!

I was on the verge of being ravenous by the time we got there, so I was in the mood for a nice big bowl of pasta. I decided on the squid ink pasta (!) with crab meat, arugula, and tomatoes:

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It looks scary, but it was very tasty and I left the restaurant FULL.

The final portion of our evening was the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance! Like I said in my last post, these dancers are my absolute favorites. I seriously believe that they are some of THE most talented dancers in the world.

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Intermission selfies.

It was a fabulous show, and I cannot recommend this dance company enough!

Saturday was a full day of snow, so everything was cancelled and I just chilled out at home until we went to church in the evening. I think we were going at the rate of a slug when we were driving there. The snow was that super fluffy, slippery kind that would be awesome for sledding. The good thing is that shoveling was a breeze since the snow was so light!

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He thinks we’re on the beach or something.

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I, on the other hand, was an Eskimo.

This kind of weather called for some hot chili and cornbread! I used Jenn’s recipe for fluffy cornbread muffins, and they were de.lish.

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I had a wimpy bowl of chili because I was too full from cornbread muffins. Being the baker and getting to eat them fresh from the oven is a blessing and a curse.

Despite snacking on cornbread muffins all evening, I guess I wanted more muffin action because I decided to whip up some banana nut muffins. While I baked those, we popped in Baby’s Day Out for a family movie night.

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These were so gooooood. A little crispy on the outside, crunchy from the walnuts, hearty from the whole wheat, and just sweet enough.

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Creepin’ as we watched the movie. They looked at me after I took this picture and I tried to pretend nothing happened.

Sunday was also a laid-back day because it was icy outside and Sunday school was cancelled. I finished up some homework, did a couple workouts from PurelyTwins (I LOVE their workouts— short and sweet and perfect for when you’re staying at home!), and went to H-Mart and Trader Joe’s with dad to pick up some goodies for dinner and dessert. There were way too many ‘and’s in that previous sentence. Sorry to all my elementary school teachers.

Pinterest did its job yesterday because I spotted a picture of monkey bread, showed it to my mom, and then she and I got the urge to eat it. So I made some. It was healthy monkey bread though! We also had fajitas, which I think were my dad’s idea.

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Trader Giotto and Trader José. I just love how Trader Joe has different names.

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Pork fajitas hit the spot.

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Monkey bread was oh so good even though I failed at taking it out of the pan in one piece.

I’m also revisiting the Slow Down Challenge because I think the root of my insomnia/anxiety is that I worry way too much about what I need to do and what I expect of myself (like, “I need to be ready and energetic for school, dance, etc.). I can sleep well on the weekends, but as soon as I start thinking about the week and what is upcoming, I put unnecessary pressure on myself to be in total control, which makes me nervous and tense, especially when trying to fall asleep. Knowing this will hopefully be helpful for me to patiently and prayerfully address the problem. Thank you all a million times over for your prayers and suggestions 🙂

Have a marvelous Monday!

So tell me: Did it snow where you live? Have you ever seen/heard of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater? What was the last thing you baked? Do you like monkey bread?