Pumpkinfest 2013

Having friends who you haven’t seen in a while visit you is just about the best thing ever.  This weekend was full of checking out pumpkins, eating good food, lounging around in my cozy apartment, and laughing historically about anything and everything… it was awesome.

On Friday night, I went downtown with some friends from work and waited for my two friends from college to get here and meet up with us.  Colleen and George had a long ride from NYC/CT, but they are troopers and met us at the bar when they finally arrived. It was nice to have them meet all my new friends and we had a great time before heading home and chatting/laughing late into the night.

I couldn’t reveal these before because it was a surprise, but George plays baseball so I carved the Houston Astros symbol into his pumpkin, and I carved a fun smiley face into Colleen’s to represent her lovely personality. The only problem was that when I showed her it as we got home, I dropped it and it smashed. Of course, right?!

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Saturday morning, we all were quite tired so it took a little while to get up and moving.  It was great to get to sleep in and relax though, and I don’t think any of us minded taking it slow.  Once we did get out of bed, we made a big French toast breakfast with all the fixings.  I knew it was going to be a long day, and a good hearty breakfast was just what we needed.

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After breakfast, we headed downtown to check out Pumpkinfest, along with thousands of other people.  It started at noon, and when we got there at 1, it was already packed with as many people and pumpkins as could fit.  We checked ours in to get counted for the world record and then placed them among the others. 

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I think he liked his!

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None of us had ever been to P-Fest before, so we made sure we checked out everything, walking up and down Main Street a couple of times.  The wall of pumpkins they make in Central Square is massive, but the pumpkins lining literally every bit of space on the road might be even more impressive.  I didn’t really start taking pictures until it got cloudy, but for the first couple of hours, the weather was absolutely perfect. 

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Kids (and some adults) dressed up in their Halloween costumes and they had face painting, a Ferris wheel, and all kinds of pumpkin carving stations. 

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The beauty of the town in Fall was enough for me to want to be there!

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In addition to the pumpkins and activities, they also had tons and tons of food.  You could find everything from corn dogs to turkey legs to fried pickles and Oreos, quesadillas, local maple syrup, and cider donuts.  With so many options, it was hard to decide which ones to pick, and I really wished I’d had room for more.  We ended up splitting some hand-cut French fries and homemade chili, and it was a delicious lunch.  A lot of the food tents benefitted local organizations like youth sports teams, fire stations, and community groups, so I was happy to spend my money on such a good cause. 

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I think a great time was had by all! 

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Not to mention… we are the new world record holders of the most carved, lit pumpkins at once.  Over 30,000… Woo!

Once we got tired of walking around and fighting the crowds, we came home for a little rest.  We watched a little football, ate some dinner, and caught up after quite a while apart.  It got cloudy and a little chillier in the afternoon, so it was perfect for some cozy time.  Saturday night we went to a party at my friends’ house, and it was great to get to have my old friends spend some time with all of my new ones. 

We got in pretty late on Saturday and there was some more sleeping in on Sunday.  I think George would’ve been content to stay on that air mattress all weekend!

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Once we got him out of bed, we headed downtown for brunch.  The wait was painfully long, but it let us catch up some more, and I was grateful for the time with them.  Living four hours apart from such great friends is tough and I’ll take what I can get!  Once the food came, we all devoured it, with my meal being the standard eggs, bacon, toast, and potatoes.  It was decent, but luckily the company made up where the food was lacking. 

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They had at least a four hour journey home, so they headed out after brunch and I got some weekend chores done: groceries, meal prep… the usual. 

And the cherry on top of the perfect weekend was this delicious little caramel apple that I snagged from the festival.  I can’t believe it survived an entire day before I ate it, but it was certainly worth the wait! 

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Have you ever been to a pumpkin festival? 

Do you live far from your best friends?


Pumpkin Season is Upon Us!

To say I’m excited for this weekend would be a pretty huge understatement.  Not only is it Pumpkinfest, but I also get to see two of most wonderful friends.  Add to that good weather, great food, and some fun times with new friends, and what more could I ask for?!

Last year, I planned on going to Pumpkinfest, but ended up going home instead.  My grandmother was in the nursing home and not doing well, and my whole family somehow ended up home and together that weekend.  That ended up being the night she passed away, so I felt lucky to have made the choice to be nowhere but there, with my family, on her last night. 

But this year, I’m staying here to go to Pumpkinfest for the first time ever, and I’m pretty excited to finally be there.  I’ll probably end up sick of the crowds after about ten minutes, but I still want to see what it’s all about! 

My company gave 20,000 pumpkins out to the town this year, and it was funny to see all the kids walking home from school with them on Tuesday.  I picked up a couple for my friends and myself, and the other night, I spent some time carving them.  My town is going for the world record, so your admission is one carved pumpkin in order to help us win.  I’m carving my pumpkin on Friday night with my friends from work, but my other friends aren’t getting here until late, so I carved theirs for them. 

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The finished products are a surprise! 

I was feeling lazy and thus wasn’t planning on cooking any of the seeds this year, but when it came time to throw them out, I just couldn’t do it.  So, I did what I do every year and cooked them up with a little bit of salt. 

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Such an easy, delicious, and nutritious snack!

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Speaking of easy and delicious (not necessarily nutritious), I’ve got a pretty good recipe coming at you next week.  These pumpkin spice cake cookies were super simple to make and I think (hope!) they’re going to be a hit.  They’re soft, chewy, and sweet, with just enough Fall flavor. 

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I was feeling extra tired on Wednesday, so I skipped the gym altogether and took an unplanned rest day, but Thursday and today, I was back at it:

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Those were tough ones!

As far as meals go, I’ve been trying to keep things as clean and healthy as possible this week because I’m pretty positive that there’s going to be plenty of candy apples, cider donuts, pumpkin beer, and other treats this weekend.  The other night, that clean, healthy meal came in the form of steak with asparagus, red peppers, and spinach.   I bought a different cut of steak this week (a London broil), and man, it was delicious.

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One more day of work and then it’s Pumpkinfest time! 

I hope you all have a great weekend… get out there and enjoy the Fall while you can!!


Remember Me?

Oh, hey guys. 

I know – it’s been a while. 

Last week was totally crazy for me, and honestly, I didn’t have the time or energy to write.

After I got my wisdom teeth out last Friday, I was pretty much out of commission for the entire weekend and first half of last week.  I was in so much pain that I didn’t go to work on Monday, and Tuesday was spent going back and forth between work and my bed.  By Wednesday, I was starting to worry a little about the amount of pain I was still in after five days, so I went back to the surgeon to check on things.  They packed one of the holes that was really giving me a problem (it’s gross, sorry) and I immediately felt a lot better. 

I was still sore (I still am, actually), but it was clear that I was at least on the mend at that point, so that alone made me feel better.  I went to flag football on Wednesday night and mostly just watched, but by Thursday, I was back in the gym.  I didn’t lift and I scaled our WODs so that I could take it a little easier, but it felt good to at least be moving around.  After almost a week of just sitting/laying around, I was definitely starting to go crazy!

Oh, and on top of feeling like I got hit by a truck and trying to catch up on my work last week… I moved to my new apartment.  Thank gosh that I am the luckiest person in the world and have amazing family and friends who don’t even hesitate when I ask for help or I would have been totally… screwed.  I moved as much stuff as I could before my surgery, and my mom did a ton while I was resting afterwards, but I still had all of my furniture to move, and I certainly couldn’t have done that alone.

On Thursday night last week, my Dad and his girlfriend came up and three of my super generous friends came over to help me with everything.  We spent a few hours doing what I thought was going to be a on hour job, but eventually, we got it done.  I still had some small things left afterwards so of course when I couldn’t sleep on Friday morning, I was up at 3:30 before the gym packing the rest of it.

My mom and cousin came up on Friday and helped me move what was left, in between me working and going back to the surgeon for a third time to get my teeth repacked.  We (they) got it all cleaned and I finally locked the door and returned the keys on Saturday morning.

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(Phew, are you still with me?  Now you can probably see why I wasn’t around her much last week!)

Friday night, after we were all done, my mom, cousin, and I went to grab some dinner downtown at my favorite place, The Stage.  We started with the roasted Brussels sprouts appetizer…

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And I had my favorite steak, broiled potatoes, and veggies for dinner. 

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It was pretty much my first real meal in a week, plus I was completely famished from working and running around and moving all day, so you can’t even imagine how much I enjoyed that massive cut of steak (or the ice cream that was eaten on my new porch afterwards) – unbelievable

Friday night, I spent my first night in my apartment, but I wasn’t there very long.  Saturday morning, I went to the gym for a quick workout and some racquetball (so fun!), and then I headed home to my mom’s for a couple days.  We had plans to go to the beach, and I was supposed to go to the lake on Sunday with my dad, but the weather had other ideas, and both trips were nixed.  Kind of a bummer considering it was Labor Day weekend and all, but we made the best of it anyway.

Instead, we did some shopping so I could try to find a dress for my friend’s wedding and some new work pants, and then we stopped for a late lunch. 

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I just had a salad and some cheese + crackers to tide me over until dinner…

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But it was the cider that was the star of the afternoon for me. 

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I don’t drink very often because it tends to give me a stomach ache (surprise, surprise), but last year I tried this Angry Orchard cider, and ever since, I’ve been hooked.  Not only is it the perfect fall drink, but it’s totally delicious, and it doesn’t bother my stomach.  Score!

Saturday night, my mom and I headed over to my aunt and uncle’s house to have one last dinner with my cousin before he headed off to his Freshman year of college on Sunday morning.  We had pizza and homemade brownie sundaes to celebrate his going-away (and also his birthday), and it was great to get to spend a little time with him before he takes off.  We chatted about all the things he’s looking forward to, and I tried to give him some oh-so-deep words of wisdom.  I remember being pretty nervous before I left for school for the first time, but I’d do it all over again if I had the chance.  To all those of you out there heading off to college this week – good luck and enjoy it!

After a nice, long weekend, I’m feeling healthy, settled, and ready to get back into my regular rhythm again, so I’m looking forward to a good week.  I hope you are as well!


4th Of July Weekend

Since my mom and I spent a few days at my aunt and uncle’s place this weekend, I’ve still got a little catching up to do… 

On Friday morning, my cousins’ husband and I headed out for our second run of the weekend, and then we all spent another perfect day down at the river.  Honestly, I think I could spend every day down there.  I found a rope swing and took my kayak over to check it out, but unfortunately it was kind of a dud.  Being short (and having short arms) didn’t help, but the rope wasn’t long enough and it barely even swung.  Better luck next time, folks. Luckily, the rest of the day was a blast! 

When we arrived back at the house, there were naps to be had, and then the collaborative dinner effort began once again.  Having everyone together in one place is wonderful, but I can’t imagine cooking (and cleaning) for that many people every day!

First, there were appetizers and drinks…

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And then everyone waited patiently for the first (of many) courses to begin.

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There was grilled garlic bread…

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And plenty of steamers… (I passed on those.)

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Plus homemade buffalo wings (amazing) and my first official corn on the cob of the season!

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Not to mention the actual dinner, which included grilled chicken and veggies, green bean casserole, homemade macaroni and cheese, and plenty of watermelon to go around. 

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It was certainly a meal fit for royalty and it tuckered everybody right out. 

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But a little while later, we regrouped because there were celebrations that needed to take place.  Not only was it my cousin’s birthday, but she also just got engaged! 

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Birthday celebrations were first… 

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And then we toasted to the engagement!

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I can’t believe how fast it flew by, but it was certainly a fun weekend for everyone, and I’m so glad we got to do it.  It’s going to be a tough one to beat, but I hope we try again next year anyway!


4th of July 2013!

Hey everyone!  I took a few days off from blogging this weekend to spend time with my family, so I hope your 4th of July holiday was wonderful, however you spent it! 

It’s not that often anymore when all of my family can get together in one place for any length of time, so when my aunt and uncle invited everyone to their lake house for the 4th of July, we were all pretty excited.  My mom and I headed up to meet everyone when I got out of work on Wednesday, and immediately we were greeted with food and love… two of the things my family does best. 

I brought quite a bit of food with me, so my first few meals of the trip were the typical chicken, green beans, and tomatoes.  I didn’t want to let them go to waste by leaving them in my fridge at home, and I knew they’d help me ward off stomach aches for a while, so it was really a win-win. 

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The first thing someone said to me when I walked in on Wednesday night was “I heard we’re doing CrossFit tomorrow?” so naturally, I was in.  On the first morning, two of my cousins’ husbands, my cousin Tim, and I set out on a run, and it was pretty fun to run with a group of people.  I never usually run with other people, but it certainly made me realize that I’m way too easy on myself when I’m alone; running with others kept me going when I know I would’ve just stopped had I been by myself.  We did about 2 miles and looped back around to the house, where I got in a quick WOD in the front yard that looked like this:

  • 5 Rounds:
    • 10 Burpees
    • 10 Push-ups
    • 10 Air squats

Nothing too crazy, but since it felt like it was 200% humidity outside, it certainly had me sweaty!

One thing I learned this weekend was that it takes quite a while to mobilize a group of 25 people, but once we were all showered, fed, and packed up, we headed down to the river.  My aunt and uncle’s house is right on the border of Maine, and the Saco river runs by not ten minutes from them. We’ve often taken tubes, kayaks, and canoes and floated down the river, but this year we decided to stay stationary and set up camp on the bank.  With all those people and six dogs, it was a lot easier that way!

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The kids all loved my new kayak and took turns rowing back and forth all day long.  I don’t think I got to sit in it once, but it’s fine by me as long as everyone has fun!

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When we got back from the river, everyone was hot, tired, and starving, so we all got to work in the kitchen putting together dinner #1.  I love being part of a family of good cooks, and there was certainly no shortage of food this weekend.  My aunt and uncle made pulled pork sandwiches, my cousin made homemade salsa (to die for), my other aunt made chicken and cheese quesadillas…

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And my mom made an amazing meat+beans chili with cornbread.

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I think we were all in heaven… even those of us who didn’t get to try everything.

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After we were all full and happy, we headed outside for some games and drinks. 

DSC_0441From corn hole to board games to cards, there was plenty of fun to go around, and everyone got in on the action.

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Even the dogs were having a good time!

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When it came time for dinner round two, Brooke took the orders for hamburgers and hot dogs and we all ate up again.  Swimming and throwing and chatting and sweating sure does make you hungry!

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For dessert, we had my cousins festive 4th of July jello… how cute, right?!  We watched the fireworks from the deck, and it was quite the wonderful holiday for everyone!

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Questions:

How did you spend your holiday?

Do you prefer the ocean or the lake/river?  This question was flying around this weekend and my answer is always the same: the lake’/river will win every single time!


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