Giving Tuesday and No Kid Hungry

Giving-Tuesday-Social.jpgThanksgiving has passed. So has Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday. And today is Cyber Monday. But do you know what tomorrow is? 

Everyone knows about the "days of deals", but tomorrow is more important then all of those. Tomrrow is Giving Tuesday. Keeping the feel of Thanksgiving, the Tuesday after is a day dedicated to giving back.

In the spirit of #GivingTuesday, I wanted to tell you about No Kid Hungry. This wonderful organization strives to end childhood hunger, by helping in need children get the healthy food they need. This year, they’ve set a huge goal of raising $100,000 on Giving Tuesday, and I'm here to do my part to help spread the word! 

The best part? All donations on Giving Tuesday will be matched by Hickory Farms and Kettle Brand, up to $100k. That means we have the opportunity to raise $200,000 enough to help connect kids with up to 2 million meals - all from one day's work. With your help, together we can make sure that every kid gets the healthy food they need to succeed, this year and beyond.

Here’s what you can do to help make the biggest impact tomorrow:

  • Pledge your social media status here and join @NoKidHungry and our match partners @HickoryFarms and @KettleBrand on social media on 12/1 to talk about #NoKidHungry & #GivingTuesday
  • Write your own blog post about No Kid Hungry and Giving Tuesday! Encourage your readers to join the conversation online on Giving Tuesday, and help us reach our goal by donating on 12/1 at NoKidHungry.org/GivingTuesday


Looking for another way to get involved? This holiday season, No Kid Hungry is teaming up with Food Network to #BakeItForward. Just bake something delicious, share your creation online, and nominate a friend using #BakeItForward and for every share of the hashtag Food Network will donate $1 to No Kid Hungry.

Whether you support No Kid Hungry, or another charity of your choice, I hope you will give back on Giving Tuesday! 


Ups and Downs, and Holiday Triggers

I'm getting pretty settled in here. I have a general routine: Monday and Wednesday mornings I hit up yoga when Gwen's at kindergarten; Tuesday and Thursdays I use that time for cleaning, straightening, and errands; Fridays I touch up/brighten up my hair while watching something fun on Netflix. All of those days I also fit in reading for my doula certification requirements. The afternoons Gwen and I eat lunch, work on homework, play games, romp in the snow, and watch movies. I cook dinners, and sometimes she helps. We do bedtime routine, then Trav and I relax, watch some TV, read some. On Thursday nights I hit up a restorative yoga class.

Some days I don't get everything done that I hope too; some days I have extra time to relax. We have visitors, Trav goes to events through work, and I go out with new friends, friends passing through, or to apartment events. Most of the time its a really good balance here. Better, I think, then what we had in Philadelphia.

But there are times it's still hard. A week before Thanksgiving I had one of those times. I found out that my friend B, a transplant like myself, who we thought would be coming over with her family, would actually be heading to visit her best friend. I was happy for her trip... I was more then a little sad for myself. Pity party for one, right here.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays; the golden three (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas). Thanksgiving is gratefulness, and food, and family. Except that this year we celebrated without any family. I believe that was a first for me. A week out, looking a the holiday approaching with just the three of us, even the food couldn't get me excited. Gwen only eats 2 or 3 of the items we typically make for Thanksgiving, so it didn't seem to make sense to cook a huge meal that only two of us would eat. (Don't worry, we did anyway! Trav bought a 14lb turkey!) Thinking about the day without the food, without the family... well, suddenly Thanksgiving was just looking like any other day.

I am truly grateful for this life of ours. For my family (no matter how near or far), for my friends, for the roof over our heads, the clothes on our backs, and the food on our table. So many people don't have those things, and we are able to take them for granted. With all that has happened in the world lately, I am grateful beyond belief that we have all these things, and more. That I'm able to pursue my dream jobs, that I get to watch my husband thrive and my daughter learn new things everyday.

But I'm human, and a week ago, as on Thanksgiving day, it was hard not to feel sad.

This isn't my regular holiday post. For the first time in years, I didn't do the 30 days of thankfulness. I'm no less thankful then any other year, I just needed a break from that forced format. And here, I needed my honest space. 

The day ended up being nice, though very different, and yes, a little hard. My mom will be here next week. Perhaps we'll do another special meal then. In the meantime, I'll wrap my head around the fact that we still have many firsts to encounter here in Colorado, and that not all of them will be good.


Tastes of Autumn {Pumpkin Harvest Smoothie}

Autumn has some of my favorite flavors... rich beef bourguignon, hearty beef stew, roasted root veggies, and of course, pumpkin. Of course there is always Halloween candy. Its a great time to eat. Unfortunately its also an easy time to over indulge! Sometimes I want something that is sweet, but also healthy. I'm a big fan of smoothies, and this one tastes like the Autumn in a cup.

It is a bit of a treat, thanks to the natural sugars in the apple and yogurt, but is full of amazing vitamins too. One cup of pumpkin gives you 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A, 20% of the daily value for vitamin C, 10% or more for vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese, and at least 5% for thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Now that is a super veggie!

This is a simple, quick way to get tons of great vitamins and minerals, while still enjoying something that has some of the best flavors of the season!

Pumpkin Harvest Smoothie

1 small apple (chilled in the fridge/freezer, if possible)
1/2 mounded cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt  (or plain yogurt + 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
1 tsp + pumpkin pie spice
milk as needed
ice cubes (optional)

  1. This smoothie is best cold, so if you have time to plan it out beforehand, cut, core, and freeze one apple. If not, no worries, use a room temp apple then add ice at the end.
  2. Add your apple, pumpkin puree, yogurt, and pumpkin pie spice to your blender. Pulse until apple is completely pureed and everything is mixed together smoothly.
  3. Taste and add more pumpkin spice as desired.
  4. Add enough milk to thin out to desired consistency, and ice (if using), blend until completely incorporated.
  5. Add a straw and enjoy! 

This smoothie is sweet, flavorful, and makes me feel good to drink. The yogurt adds a touch of protein, making it a great snack to get you over the mid-afternoon hump. Let me know what you think!