Volunteering at Second Harvest

I’ve been saying that I’ve wanted to volunteer with my kids for years now. It comes up, I think about it for a few days, and then I do nothing about it. Part of it is because it’s HARD to find volunteering opportunities for kids and the other part is that I’m just full of excuses about being too busy and too consumed with my own life.

That’s changing.

This week I FINALLY had a chance to volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Second Harvest collects, stores, and distributes donated food to more than 550 feeding partners in six Central Florida counties. Their food goes to food pantries, daycares, soup kitchens, emergencies shelters, and senior centers (to name a few). Over 50% of their food comes from retail stores – but chances are, when you donate goods in Central Florida, it ends up at Second Harvest.

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Second Harvest has many, many volunteering opportunities for adults, but every other month they offer a “Family Night” where kids from ages 5-9 can volunteer, which is where I went (with B and L) last Wednesday night.

Also joining us was Paula, who, by the way, my kids decided they want as their new mom. #tryingnottobeoffended

My kids decided that @eatwatchrun is their new mom. #coolerthanme

And just think, she only thought she was signing up to volunteer for a few hours!

We got to Second Harvest 5 minutes before 6 (the program ran from 6-8), signed in, and then was sent to the volunteer break room. The whole process was very simple. We waited for about 10 minutes before they raffled off two tickets to Fun Spot (that thankfully we did not win — shhh don’t tell the kids I said that) and then we were directed into the warehouse to sort food.

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And sort food we did! There were 18 pallets of food (about 15,000lbs) that we placed into a variety of bins (cans, dry goods, chemicals, non-food, candy, etc.).

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It was a simple activity, but seeing all of the kids working hard was so fun! B especially got into it, while L made friends with an older boy (seriously) and helped collect the empty boxes.

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Is it too early to lock her up?

We ended up smoking through the pallets (they anticipated 12 pallets taking 2 hours and had to bring in 6 more after 45 minutes – which still wasn’t enough) and finished up a little early.

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Paula and B REALLY wanted to take home the candy, but I’m mean and I said no.

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As we were leaving B BEGGED to come back (he actually wanted to stay and do more), so I signed up for September as well. As of right now there are still about 25 spots left if you are interested in volunteering with kids!

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And by the way, another event that Second Harvest is involved in is Taste of the Nation Orlando which is coming up on August 9th.

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Taste of the Nation is a HUGE fundraising event for both Second Harvest and the Coalition for the Homeless – raising money together for their No Kid Hungry campaign.

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It also happens to brings together some of the BEST local restaurants (as well as a few chains) where you can eat and drink your little heart out. It’s a one of a kind event where you can feel gluttonous about eating massive amounts of food, while also feeling good about the cause.

You may remember that I went last year as Paula’s date and had a FANTASTIC time. I cannot wait to head back again this year!

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So, long story short – if you’d like to dedicate a few hours of your time check out the Second Harvest Food Bank. If you aren’t local, it’s worth checking out your local food banks.

AND If you are looking for something to do in August, which just so happens to support a fantastic cause, you can buy tickets HEREDo it! It’s for the kids!

All The Partying

As I’ve stated numerous times, I’m a big fan of working hard and playing hard. So after 9+ months of working hard… I have spent the last two weeks reaping the benefits.

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I didn’t say I was klassy.

I also like to call this – the time when I hung out and partied with Paula and Jackie two weeks in a row.

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Up first was girls’ night out. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about leaving Evan for a night of fun and partying with my girls – but Dan insisted that I do it and while it was REALLY hard to leave him (and dude, the pumping SUCKED), I’m really glad I spent a night out.

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It was much needed. I somehow managed to get less sleep than when staying at home with my infant, so needless to say I was freaking exhausted the next day. It was worth it though and I’m really glad we are making this a yearly tradition.

As if that weren’t enough, Paula invited me to be her date to Taste of the Nation Orlando last Saturday.

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We ate, and ate, and ate… and drank… and did I mention the eating?

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Stop looking at my boobs.

We also hung out with Jackie and Katy (who I haven’t seen since my baby sprinkle in APRIL!) and just had fun.

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The bad news is that I got full too soon (HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??) and I didn’t get to experience everything. Next year (and there will be a next year!) that WILL NOT HAPPEN.

At the beginning of the night I paid $25 for a key to a door. If that key unlocked the door I would have won 150 bottles of wine. (the best part is that this $25 was for the kids, man)

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And now you’re looking at my ass.

Unfortunately, I didn’t win. BUT the guy behind me did. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Ugh. So close. Kinda.

And that’s how I ended my night. And my partying.

I have to admit – partying is pretty lame when you get tired at 10pm and have the tolerance of 16 year old (umm, not that I drank when I was 16 – for real), but I’m glad my friends put up with me because I had a lot of fun and got to be “myself” again for just a short while.

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And obviously, I needed it.

Indulgent & Relaxing Weekend

This weekend I stuffed my face, treated myself to a pedicure, hung out with friends, and basically just tried to relax. I wasn’t seriously concerned about going into labor while we were at our friends house (3 hours away from my Doctors/hospita!), but it was always a possibly. The good news is that we are home safe and sound — and I am still pregnant!

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My weekend started at the Ravenous Pig with my brother, Ben, and sister-in-law, Christina.

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It was a fun dinner, we caught up and had some good laughs and great food including their soft-pretzels, shrimp tacos, salad with beets, goat cheese, and pistachios (I think I’ve found a new favorite salad!), lamb, and “pig tails” for dessert.

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It’s crazy to me that Ben and Christina have almost been married for a year. It feels like we just made the trek out to San Franciso/Sonoma (I’m super jealous – they are heading back out there in a few weeks to celebrate their anniversary). Dinner was great – although I might love Cask & Lader a little bit more…

Saturday was pretty low key. Baseball was cancelled and while L and I were at dance/getting our nails done – Dan ran some boy errands with B and installed the infant seat.

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Eek.

We then headed down to the West Palm Beach area around 1:30 and lounged around with our friends for the rest of the afternoon/night.

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Today was much of the same. The kids were up waaaay too early, but I guess I expected it! We spent most of the day swimming/laying out by the pool (I got a little swimming in, but I’m a super wuss and the water was COLD) most of the day before heading to a late lunch and then heading home.

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I’m feeling slightly exhausted right now, despite relaxing. I was up most of the night with irregular contractions (that then lasted the majority of the day as well). I am feeling better now, so I’m hoping tonight will be a better night! For what it’s worth, I vaguely remember the same thing happening with L – so I’m not thinking they actually mean anything – but who knows, Thursday is a full moon!

Truthfully, as uncomfortable as I was today, I still want to make it through this week — I have a hair appointment, book club, and my rescheduled family pictures on Sunday. Obviously, there’s no room in that schedule to have a baby :)

On that note… I’m off to have a low key Sunday night. Hope everyone had a great weekend and a Monday that doesn’t completely suck!

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Last night BW3 was showered with love, great food, baby gear, and diapers!

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To be honest, I wasn’t crazy about having another baby shower. I think it’s an awesome tradition for first time parents, but by the time you have your second and third baby — well, it’s a different story. Lucky for me, my friends don’t feel the same way! I did insist on it not being a typical shower (really, it was a “sprinkle”). There were no games (with the exception of a “guess the sex, due date, and stats) and there had to be alcohol.

The party was hosted by these two lovely ladies – my BFF Kate and Jackie Jovi!

BW3 was showered with love (and lots of diapers!) tonight thanks to @kao4018 and @jackiec44. So thankful ;) Photobomb courtesy of @eatwatchrun.

I seriously cannot thank them enough for throwing a great party. Both of them had insane weeks and I appreciate the time (and money!) spent on me and this baby. I hope to return the favor in some way someday!

The menu was awesome – Jackie apparently has this secret underground Thai caterer that made all of this amazing food. We had papaya salad, some kind of spicy eggplant dish, green chicken curry, chicken satay, and rice. I’m actually drooling just thinking about it because it was so good!

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For dessert we had brownie bites and these mini lemon cupcakes that were melt in your mouth good.

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I’m glad that I’m not a Costco member because these things were dangerous.

The bonus and benefit of Kate and Jackie both hosting was that they were able to bring together my different friend groups. You know how it can sometimes be awkward when your different friend groups mix? It was not at all like that last night.

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I feel like we should have been wearing race bibs or something.

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Of course we had to do a blogger pose (Paula, J, Victoria, Me, Katy, and Jackie)

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Yes, I’m klassy.

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I even got to (finally) meet one of the cutest babies ever — Miss A!

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She was her adorable and happy self, of course.

After eating, mingling, and drinking it was time for presents.

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Have I mentioned how lucky and grateful I am to have such wonderful friends?? BW3 received some awesome gifts and we had a lot of great laughs.

I also have a stockpile of wine – because good friends know that when you’re going to have your third kid you need a litte wine on hand. OK and I might have included it on the Amazon registry that Jackie made me create. (did you know that Amazon has the best registries because you can add stuff from other websites?)

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We got a little giddy at the end of the night – and I somehow didn’t get home until midnight (who says you can’t party when you’re 9 months pregnant?), but I had such a great time!

**Thanks to Kate and Jackie for most of these pictures too. I managed to leave my memory card at home, because what else is new?**

Today we were supposed to meet take family pictures, but my photographer was sick! *Sad panda* Instead, I spent the entire day in my PJs cleaning the crap out of my house. I thought I knew what nesting was – but holy wow, I was on FIRE today. I washed all of the new baby gifts (and put them together), put together the co-sleeper, cleaned out my closet and the medicine cabinet, and mopped the living room and bathroom. I somehow managed to find even more crap to throw away. I’m not even sure where it’s coming from – I feel like it’s just regenerating!! That said – I’d still like to make it to May, but if the baby decides to make an early appearance – well, I am definitely ready.

Thanks to all who came and partied with me last night! You guys are seriously the best :)

Weekend Recap + Lobster Mac & Cheese {Somewhat Healthy Recipe}

This weekend was BUSY. I knew it was going to be, but I honestly didn’t realize I would still be catching my breath. It’s times like this when I think, “Woah, how am I going to do this with 3 kids?” I mean, I know I’ll do it, but the reality checks just keep coming! Ha ha.

I kicked off Friday night with an hour on the spin bike at the gym.

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Obligatory gym bathroom selfie. I look super happy to be there, no?

I actually intended to stop at 50 minutes, but this lady started talking to me about she wished she had more kids and hadn’t focused so much on her career. I haven’t actually figured out how to politely tell people I don’t really care, so I listened and smiled. Meanwhile, my kids/husband were at home starving (kidding – Dan was making them tomato and mozzarella paninis). Pregnancy really draws people to you. I’m not 100% sure this is a good thing.

I arrived home to my family finishing up dinner and decided to make pancakes instead of a sandwich. I just can’t quit you pancakes.

While they were eating dessert (well, technically it was just apples, but it was after dinner) – B lost his 2nd tooth! This damn tooth has been loose for the past 2 months and I was wondering when it come out. FINALLY.

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The good news is that we didn’t fail at tooth fairy duties this time. A crispy, dirty $1 bill was delivered without any drama. We’ve learned. The rest of the night was spent doing nothing in front of the TV. What can I say, Fridays are exciting!

Saturday morning came waaaay too early. We were up and dressed and ready for our insane day by 8:15. We went to the gym and I did my Circuit Workout. Then I rushed over to Davis Bakery for breakfast and coffee, before making it to L’s dance class. From there we rushed to B’s baseball game. There was basically a lot of rushing going on.

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It was opening day and it was chilly and windy.

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This is what I felt like doing too.

B did a great job hitting the ball (it’s his first time playing coach pitch) and did some decent fielding. At this age they still don’t really “play”, so nobody gets out and everyone gets to bat. It’s good because the parents aren’t really cutthroat and everyone gets a turn, but it feels like the longest 3 innings ever.

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That’s my boy!

Thankfully, one of B’s teammates has a little sister who is the same age as L and they are now best friends. They were pretty adorable.

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This is how girls are different than boys.

After the game, we braved my sanity and did some shopping at Target. As always — after about $100 and 1.5 hours later we left. I’m not even really sure what I bought, except these cute shoes:

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I’m a sucker for $20 Target shoes.

When we got home we were ALL ready for a nap. I think I did actually fall asleep for about a half hour because I don’t remember most of the afternoon. All I know is that at some point I started getting ready for my night out. Yes, I left the house! I picked up my friends Jackie and Carol (my friends pretty much want me to be pregnant forever so they have a permanent DD) and we headed over to my colleague’s (my boss) birthday/housewarming party!

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There was an abundance of food, wine, liquor, and shots…

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And this lady!

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Even though I feel like I talk to her every day, I haven’t seen Paula (or her hubs) in ages, so it was really nice to hang out (and Melissa, she’d want me to let you know that she molested me with a very, very long hug that involved rubbing my back).

Also fun? The party of course. Most of the people there I had worked with at some point in the past 6 years. Some I hadn’t seen in a while –  the last time we saw each other I was pregnant with L. I felt the need to clarify that it was a different baby. Lol.

We partied until 12:45ish and then headed home. The best part of the night? There was no puking in my car. (OK, maybe one of the best parts)

Today Dan was really, really sweet and let me sleep in. I needed it! When I finally got my butt out of bed, we did our usual Sunday thing: ate pancakes/drank coffee, relaxed, and then went to the 1:15 spin class. The kids are always super nutty on Sundays (probably because it the one day that we are all together all day!), but thinking back to the day I wouldn’t have it any other way. They are nuts, but they are my nuts.

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Clearly, she dressed herself.

Since we really haven’t had a good quality family dinner the past few nights – I treated everyone tonight and made Lobster Mac and Cheese (see recipe below!). It’s probably the richest meal I’ve made in ages (or ever), but it was worth the splurge. I can’t wait for the leftovers tomorrow!

I modified this recipe. It was actually very simple and took about 40 minutes from start to finish.

Lobster Mac & Cheese

Lobster Mac & Cheese

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lobster tails
  • 1.5 lbs of whole wheat penne pasta
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 cups of hot milk
  • 2 cups of fontina cheese
  • 1 cup of 2% sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of Italian breadcrumbs

Directions:

Broil the lobster tail. I used these instructions and it was much easier than I thought it was going to be! Once broiled, chop the lobster into chunks and set aside. Once the lobster is done, turn the oven onto bake at 425 degrees.

While you’re broiling the lobster, prepare/boil the pasta and shred the cheese (I shredded the fontina, but used shredded sharp cheddar because I am lazy).

Once the cheese is ready, either microwave the milk for a minute or heat the milk on the stove (DON’T bring it to a boil or scald it – it just needs to be hot). In a saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of the butter and warm it at a medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk until blended. Slowly add hot milk and continue whisking. If you keep the heat at medium it will take a few minutes for the milk to thicken. Once it thickens, remove the saucepan from the heat Add the cheese, salt, and pepper until smooth and then set aside.

Next, drain the (al dente) cooked pasta and thoroughly mix together the lobster, pasta, and the cheese sauce. Pour the mixture into baking dish. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and pour over the top of pasta mixture – followed by sprinkling 1/2 cup – 1 cup of breadcrumbs (I find this strategy works better than combining the butter/breadcrumbs together and sprinkling it on top). Bake for 15-20 minutes. The breadcrumbs should be browned and the pasta should be a little crunchy on top, but thicky and gooey on in the middle. YUM.

Now my full belly and I are going to catch up on The Americans and weep because tomorrow is Monday. Weekend, I hardly knew you!

What is the richest meal you’ve ever eaten or made??