Grass Seed Progress

Remember when Pete and I tackled planting our own grass? Well, some time has passed and an update was in order. Here’s how it’s going…

There are many spots where the grass is growing in nicely. It’s so exciting to see!

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However, there are just as many bald patches where nothing is going on.

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We figured it’d be best to put down some more grass seed in the bare areas and to really make sure we were doing it right.

Back to basics…I began by removing the hay in the bare spots and using a gardening trowel to loosen up the soil.

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Pete sprinkled some more grass seed where needed.

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It’s blue!

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A mistake I believe we made last time was not raking the seed in enough. All directions we’ve read said to do so lightly. Well, we took that as “barely touch it.” So this time around, I ensured that the grass seed was interacting with the soil by using a “scratch” type of movement with a plastic rake.

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I would lightly move the rake back and forth as you would if you were scratching your arm. Pete finished the job by adding some new hay.

Is this going to work? No idea…but I sure hope so! It’s possible we’re not being patient enough, as a video we watched online said it could take months. We just figured it’d be a good idea to add a bit more seed and complete the process correctly. Now we’ll just tend to it everyday with water and hopefully in a month or so we can show you pics of a fully grassed area…not just random patches!

Have you ever patched a bare spot with some new grass seed?

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Italian American Fair

Recently when I was browsing around online, I came across an advertisement for an Italian American fair in the town located next to my parent’s. It immediately caught my eye because, well, I’m Italian…love fairs…and love Italian food! I coordinated with my sister, brother, and parents and we choose a night to go. Let’s be honest, I was just excited for the zeppoles ;).

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Upon walking in, it was a bit smaller than I thought it would be. At first glance, we noticed a few rides, a couple of food stands, and some carnival games. First up was a bit of browsing at the stands, where my dad purchased an Italian flag magnet for the back of his car.

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Then, we headed over to the rides. My sister and her husband brought their two kids and it was great to watch their excitement. 

One of the rides you couldn’t miss was the Ring of Fire.

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Surprisingly, my six year old niece really wanted to go on! Now, I can do roller coasters with loops…but rides that are literally just a single loop over and over again…no thank you, sir. So instead, hubby and I just posed all nice and pretty in front of the ride!

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But my sister, brother, and niece headed up the ladder to their doom.

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Bella, my niece, came off with a huge smile on her face asking if she could go again! Rides like this…

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…are clearly not up her alley!

As for my nephew, my brother took him on a ride similar to a Tilt-a-Whirl, but at a slower pace for a little guy.

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He enjoyed it! And I just love that picture with the two of them looking at each other- so cute!

Next up were some games. Pete and I tried to teach the kids had to play Frog Bog, but to no success!

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Now the squirt game was another story!

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We played a few times and both Pete and I won, which was great because we were able to get each of the kids a prize. 

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Sorry, bro…despite your intense face we still beat ya ;).

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Speaking of my bro, he was feeling affectionate and gave me a big bear hug and kiss- a rarity!

Finally, we ended the night with some delicious zeppoles.

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They are my favorite Italian treat. If you’ve ever gone (or go) to Italy, the zeppoles are very different there. In Italy, it’s more of a doughnut consistency with regular (not powdered) sugar sprinkled on top. They melt in your mouth- there’s really nothing like it.

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But I’ll still take a close second with American zepps! (Hello, disembodied hand).

All in all, a fun family night at the fair!

Do you enjoy going to fair during the summer?

What is a food you’ve had in the native country that is very different in America?

 

Southwestern Chicken Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries

A few years ago there was a show on Lifetime called “Cook Yourself Thin.” I lived alone in my first apartment at the time and was really getting into cooking healthy meals for myself. When the show came out with a cookbook, I purchased it immediately! This is where I found the recipe for Southwestern Chicken Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries. It remains one of our favorite meals because it’s made with fresh, clean ingredients while being absolutely delicious and healthy!

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Sweet Potato Fries

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling

Chicken Burgers

  • 1 1/3 lbs ground chicken
  • 1 (4 ounce) can green chilies, diced and drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 slices reduced-fat monterey jack pepper cheese
  • 4 whole-wheat kaiser rolls
  • romaine lettuce
  • tomato, sliced
  • onion, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

For the sweet potato fries, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Wash and dry your potatoes. With the skin on, slice into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Then, cut the rounds into 1/2-inch-thick finger-shaped pieces.

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Next, toss the strips of sweet potatoes with your salt, oil, chili powder, and garlic powder.

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Lay the fries on a baking sheet in a single layer.

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Bake for 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

In the meantime, prepare your burgers. Begin by mixing the ground chicken with the diced chiles and season with salt and pepper. Separate into your burgers (we usually make 3 and freeze the fourth).

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Heat up your grill (indoor or outdoor, we’ve done both) and cook until browned. Place the cheese on top during the last minute.

Then, get your toppings ready.

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We slice up some onion, lettuce, tomato, and avocado to put on top of of our burgers.

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Pair with your sweet potato fries and enjoy!

Macros for 1 serving of sweet potato fries (recipe makes 4 servings): 86 cals, 13 carbs, 3.5 fat, 1 pro

Macros for 1 burger with a whole wheat kaiser roll: 415 cals, 71 carb, 10 fat, 39 pro

Do you ever make your own fries? 

What is a healthy, flavorful meal you enjoy cooking?

Psychic Night

You know, I’ve sat down about 5 times over the past month to write this post, but each time shut my lap top and figured it just wasn’t a good idea. Reasons included not enough pictures (silly blogger), too outrageous, and too personal. Even as I’m typing these few sentences, my instinct is telling me this is not a good idea. So in general, I think I’ll keep the post light.

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In July, eight family members (including myself) went to a psychic/medium night called “Food and Spirits” at a restaurant. Included in the price was dinner at the restaurant followed by readings from a psychic.

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I took some pics with my sis, bro, and mom during the dinner part (which is what you’ll see interspersed throughout the post) but the psychic made it very clear that no photos of her doing readings were allowed. How do I know how clear it was? Because I tried to sneak one and she called me out in front of the entire restaurant!

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Anyways, I don’t know how personal I want to get with my family’s reading, but thought I would share some of the interesting tidbits I learned from the medium before she started doing the readings. These were gathered from a Q&A session she did while guests were eating dinner.

  • When you dream about a love one who has passed, it is them paying you a visit.
  • Spirits don’t speak. In fact, they can’t speak (to mediums). Instead what the medium gets is energy. This is why when you go for a reading with a medium it tends to be very choppy.
  • All mediums are psychics. Meaning they can communicate with the dead as well as tell about your past, present, and future. But not all psychics are mediums.
  • Part of getting certified as a medium involves being blindfolded and having to read someone in front of you who you can’t see.

The first bullet point really stood out to me because I have dreams about my cousin who passed away all the time. It definitely brought me comfort to know that maybe she’s right, maybe he’s visiting.

As far as our family’s reading, much of it was very emotional and personal. Looking back, I’m a bit skeptical and really haven’t made up my mind about the whole experience (I’ll explain why later) but it was definitely interesting to say the least.

  • When my grandma “came through” the medium said it was it was difficult to understand because she was using a different language (my nonna spoke Italian)
  • She was able to identify the way that two of my cousins had passed
  • The medium made a reference to a dress that my grandmother was supposed to sew, but she forgot how to. This is when we knew her Alzheimer’s disease had really begun.
  • She mentioned how much “full of life” my cousin was

There was a lot more, as she spoke with our table for almost an hour, but it would involve much personal back story. So, why am I skeptical?

  • Looking at our table, noticing how loud we were, getting dubbed the “trouble table” – could you not tell that we were Italian?
  • Couldn’t you say anyone was “full of life”?
  • Are we stretching the dress connection to make it fit our situation?
  • A lot of time she would say things like, “Who’s the L name?” or “What’s this important date in April?” and then we’d figure something out to her very enthusiastic “YES!” But is it really what she or the spirit was getting at?

Going into the experience, I didn’t know much about mediums and really didn’t have high expectations. But I did think if a spirit came through, they’d be able to convey a message, such as, “Don’t worry about me, I’m all right.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t like that at all. It was really just her talking about the spirits. The medium does private readings and it’s definitely something I’d be interested in doing. I wouldn’t pursue it on my own, but if my family had a private reading at one of our homes, I’d attend to see what other information she could provide.

All in all it was an interesting night and I definitely left with my mind reeling. Yet, in no way did it prove to me that mediums are 100% realistic. We’ll probably never know that! But I did leave with some comfort knowing that maybe, just maybe my family members really were together and really were ok.

Have you ever gone to see a medium? What was your experience like?

Do you believe that mediums can really communicate with spirits?

 

The Hat Lady

One of my passions in life is fashion and putting together practical outfits. I’d love to start incorporating some fashion posts into the blog, including outfit breakdowns. For now, I’ll start with a love of mine, and a bit of fashion history. Hope you enjoy and want to see more!

Here’s a bit of a confession…I’m obsessed with hats. Fedoras especially but you name it, I want it. This fascination began last year when I was shopping for our honeymoon. I came across a fedora in J Crew and thought, “You could never pull this off.” But I tried it on and actually really liked it. I wasn’t sure how much I’d wear it, but it was on sale so I figured why not give it a shot.

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Well, I wore the hat pretty much nonstop on our honeymoon. And for the rest of the summer.

What attracts me to these hats is the different colored bands that are seen around them, which allows for personalization. This particular hat has a thick seersucker band that matches well with almost anything. The pinched front and the straw brim make it a perfect summer accessory.

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What I found was the hat helped me let go of a lot of hair concerns due to weather such as rain or humidity. Now, when I know I’m going to be outdoors for a while, I’ll just throw on a fedora and still have a cute look even though my hair may be a mess underneath!

Obviously I needed to add to my collection. When in Niagara Falls, my mom and I came across a hat boutique called BeauChapeau, which is where I purchased Fedora #2.

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It has the same shape and base color as my first one, but with blue and pink colored fibers and a brown band. The pinches are not as dramatic and the fibers themselves are stronger.

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I’ve been alternating between the two…that is until I discovered a new style.

Ever since Niagara-on-the-Lake I’m drawn to hat boutiques. When we visited Baltimore there was a hat shop which is where I first became exposed to the Panama Hat. The Panama Hat got it’s name when President Roosevelt was visiting the construction of the Panama Canal and a picture was snapped of him wearing one.

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This drastically increased the popularity of the hats, which are primarily made in Ecuador. Unfortunately, they did not have the Panama Hat in my size. Lucky for me though, J Crew did!

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After tracking the hat down in person so that I could try it on, the Panama Hat is my most recent acquisition. The hat has a much wider brim then my two fedoras, but the same front pinches and band. May not seem like much, but the wider brim makes a big difference and impression when on. I’m looking forward to wearing it for the rest of the summer and sharing more fashion posts, tips, and information with you!

Do you wear hats? What is your favorite style?

Would you be interested in seeing more fashion posts/outfit breakdowns on the blog?