Sunday, February 7, 2016

Around Town: Flourish

Hello everyone. Today I wanted to tell you guys about a lovely new shop that just opened called FLOURISH.  I stopped in for the first time not too long ago, and just can't get enough it! It sells handmade items by local Baltimoreans. They have wonderful hand poured candles, a wide assortment of teas, beautiful greeting cards, jewelry, books, soaps, art, clothing, and more. The owner is a pleasure to talk to and very knowledgeable about all of her merchandise. It's definitely worth a stop in, if you get the chance.  Take a look around.








Tuesday, February 2, 2016

What I Learned in January





















1) Dedicated alone time should be a priority. As a busy mom with a toddler clinging to my legs most of the day, it's hard to get alone time. For the past several weeks I had not made alone time a priority, allowing myself to be submerged in day-to-day responsibilities with no time for myself. After a while this really took it's toll and I became exhausted. It taught me a valuable lesson, which is that alone time is not option. It's something that helps me to be a better mom, a better wife, and a better all around me. Now I am guarding my few minutes of peace a day with fierce intensity. I now take time to meditate, to do yoga, to write, to learn, and to pause and be thankful. This has been paying off immeasurably.

2) The importance of boundaries. In relation to item #1, I learned that it is important to set boundaries.  So often I put myself last. I am so busy responding to emails, text messages, telephone calls, and everything else that I don't make time for myself. I over commit or offer to do things for others that I don't want to do in order to be "nice", and in the end I end up short changing myself. This year I am really going to focus on taking care of myself, and learning to say no.

3) It's good to get to know people who are significantly different from you. The other night I had an opportunity to have dinner with some folks I had never met before who were from Texas and Tennessee. They were from settings much different than Baltimore and it was interesting and enlightening to chat and learn about the cultures of their respective hometowns. They also got to learn a bit about Baltimore and our wonderful food scene. Through walking around town they also got to see the city's serious homelessness and disinvestment problem. They both indicated they had never seen homelessness on Baltimore's scale where they live and were shocked by it. It made me realize how I tend to focus on the positive attributes of Baltimore on my blog and fail to show the total picture of the city's reality, which is not all tasty crab cakes and cookies. I will do a better job of representing all of Baltimore on my blog in 2016.

Learn what others have learned at CHATTING AT THE SKY.

"Take time to come home to yourself every day." ~Robin Casarean

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Around Town: Jewish Museum of Maryland

Hi everyone, I hope you are staying warm. Before we were hit with all this snow I had a chance to visit the JEWISH MUSEUM OF MARYLAND. It was a wonderful experience filled with rich learning. You can learn lots of interesting facts about Baltimore's Jewish immigrants and subsequent community that you might not already know. I encourage everyone to go and visit.

I wanted to share some pictures with you of the B'NAI ISRAEL SYNAGOGUE. It's a part of the museum's tour and absolutely beautiful to look at.





Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ways to Honor Christ This Christmas



1) Have your kids give to kids in need (PROVERBS 22:6)
2) Bake cookies for the local homeless (MATHEW 25:35)
3) Attend a new church in a community you do not usually visit (EPHESIANS 2:19)
4) Do something kind for a neighbor (MARK 12:31)
5) Give cash gifts to low-wage workers who may not be able to afford to play Santa for their children (ex. Grocery workers, hotel staff, restaurant staff) (PROVERBS 19:17DEUTRONOMY 24:14)
6) Give away items that can be used as Christmas gifts on FREECYCLE (JOHN 3:17)
7) Visit someone in prison (MATHEW 25:36)
8) Forgive someone you've been holding a grudge against (MATHEW 6:14)

Do you have any additional ideas? Please share in the comments section.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Sale Alert: $1 or Less Museum Admission

Local museums are offering low-cost tickets this weekend. Learn more about participating institutions HERE. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

In the Kitchen: Salmon Cakes and Brussel Sprouts

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Now that you're probably over holiday leftovers I thought I'd share a tasty recipe with you.  I really enjoyed it, and think you will too if you're a salmon person like myself. Here's how you make it. Mix together the following:

  • 1 can on salmon ( I like to use Rubinstein's brand)
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tbsp of mayo
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3/4 of a medium red onion chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery chopped
  • a few dashes of hot sauce and worcestershire sauce
  • season liberally with blackening seasoning, old bay, salt and pepper
  • form mixture into patties and bake on 350 degrees until done.

Dipping Sauce (add ingredients to taste):

  • 50/50 mix of mayo and siracha
  • little bit of lemon juice
  • Old Bay
  • cajun mustard
  • little bit of worcestershire sauce
  • little bit of sugar

Brussel Sprouts:

  • rinse and cut brussel sprouts in half
  • season with salt and pepper on top of baking sheet
  • spray with olive oil
  • bake on 350 until slightly brown
Enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Around (Another) Town: Amsterdam


One of the initial reasons I started this blog was to chronicle my family's simple living journey. Simple living can encompass many things, but for me it's largely about minimizing expenses and consumption, in order to provide more time and resources for the things that matter most. About a year ago we hit a major milestone in our journey and paid off all our debts (except our mortgage). It took years of saving, working multiple jobs, eating out less, and saying no to many purchases, but we did it! Goodbye to student loans, credit card debt, and car payments FOREVER. To celebrate we treated ourselves to our first full fledged family vacation, a trip to Amsterdam.

We all had a great time as Amsterdam is an absolutely wonderful city with much to see. There's beautiful architecture.




Along with breathtaking canals that run throughout the city.



If you decide to visit make sure to take at least one BOAT RIDE, as they provide the best view of the city and a closeup of all the lovely houseboats.





Another feature that makes Amsterdam distinctive are all of the bicycles. The Dutch ride everywhere. I have never seen so many bikes in all my life. There are 1.5 times more bikes than people in the city. It was cool to see entire families, babies and all, riding together.



While visiting we learned that Amsterdam is a city of immigrants. Half of the population is not native born. It's multiculturalism makes for some delicious food options. You can get Belgian chocolate at CANDELA.



Or phenomenal (seriously.....phenomenal!!!) Turkish food at SHOARMA MESUT.


By the way, they have the best fries and Turkish coffee in town.

For those of you who are into fashion history, I'd highly recommend visiting the MUSEUM OF BAGS AND PURSES. It's the largest purse museum in the world and housing some truly amazing bags.







The museum also has a fabulous gift shop and tea room worth taking a look at




My absolute favorite thing about our trip was a visit to the countryside. It was so magical. I've seen impressive pictures of it in the past, but to see it in person was truly a blessing. Unfortunately, when we went it was very foggy so my pictures are not the greatest :-(














I'm sure it's even more beautiful in the spring, when the flowers are in bloom.

A part of our countryside tour included stopping by a cheese factory and clog workshop. It was very interesting to see the local craftsmen at work.









Well, that's all for Amsterdam, a lovely city indeed.

If  you are planning a visit I highly recommend staying at HOTEL DE HOLLEN. The accommodations are wonderful and the staff if very friendly. Plus as an added bonus they have the most amazing French toast during breakfast.















Thursday, September 24, 2015

Around Town: The Peabody Library (FREE)


When caught up in life's day-to-day obligations, it can be easy to overlook wonderful amenities right under your nose. I am unfortunately guilty of this, and have been making an effort to consciously explore Baltimore and the myriad of sights it has to offer. During my quest I came across Johns Hopkins University's PEABODY LIBRARY.

The library was created in 1878, via funding from Baltimore philanthropist George Peabody. Peabody wanted to provide the citizens of Baltimore with access to a world-class cathedral of books. The Neo-Grec interior was designed by architect Edmond G. Lind, and is absolutely astonishing! I assure you your jaw will drop if you ever see it in person. 

Here are a few photos I snapped while on my visit. I hope you enjoy!