Snow Day Traditions

I grew up in Maine, and we had our share of snow days. Back then you had to listen to the radio or watch the scrolling cancellations at the bottom of your television to find out if there was school. I remember lying in my bed listening carefully for the G’s, on red alert after they said “Gardiner”, hoping Gorham would be next.

On snow days we liked to start the day on the couch in pajamas drinking hot chocolate watching Kevin Mannix discuss how much snow we were going to get. If he was wearing a sweater, it meant it was a serious storm.

Nostalgia has me wondering what my kids’ memories will be.

Which snow day rituals will stand out?

They love snow days so much it’ll be hard for them to pick.

And I love little rituals that make life feel special, so we’ve given them a lot to choose from.

I love bringing them to the library the day before an anticipated snow day so there’s plenty of new reading material.

I love telling them they can wear their pajamas all day on snow days… even if a friend comes over.

I love watching them play outside, and going for a family walk down the snowy street on the snow days when Greg is home.

I love watching family documentaries together in the afternoon (Blue Planet II is amazing), or building a fire and playing crazy eights, spoon, or 21 while Greg and I enjoy a nice bottle of wine.

I’m oddly bad at remembering to make hot chocolate.

All these rituals give my kids something to look forward to for snow days beyond “no school”. Snow days aren’t just exciting for them because of the absence of rushing out the door in the morning or sitting through writer’s workshop. Snow days mean the presence of all these beautiful and fun family events that they look forward to.

And the more library visits, pajama mornings, snow forts and afternoon card games we have… the more likely it is that those will be their cherished and beloved snow day memories.

Like our peaceful mornings growing up cuddled on the couch watching the snow fall while Kevin Mannix made projections in his sweater.

Long Run Drama

I stood in the kitchen decked out in my running gear wiping away tears and trying to explain why I was crying.

I was about to head outside for a long run, my longest run outdoors since 2016.

It needed to go well.

I’ve been bored on the treadmill. Inconsistent. Frustrated with the competition between my memory of me as a runner with the reality of me as a returning runner.

The only way I could get myself to put in three miles on the treadmill the other day was by playing games with myself to see how high I could get the built-in heart rate monitor. 198 BPM. Running at 8.1 mph on the treadmill for 55 seconds at 2% incline did the trick. I drowned out the voice reminding me that this was slower than Greg’s marathon pace. (Just kidding, I didn’t drown it out, I saved it for my next blog post.)

If you’re a cardiologist or other heart or fitness expert I’m curious to know whether this game is even a good idea.

So there I was, in the kitchen, feeling like this was a critical run because I needed outside to be the magical cure for my running rut. Greg, ever fantastic, carefully herded me out the door with the right combination of reassurance, empathy, and podcast recommendations. A tricky exercise, getting a nervous runner who is crying in your kitchen to leave for their run. I’ve never had to do it. He even mapped out two routes for me and talked pros and cons while carefully pretending he wasn’t aware that this was yet another procrastination tactic.

I chose the second route. (More scenic.)

I ended up listening to The Gun Show, a fascinating history of the NRA and how it essentially got taken over in a coup in the seventies to become the political monster it is today. It was fascinating. I already said that. I think anyone who lives in the United States should give it a listen. (And it’s not a hard political sell on anything, it’s just what it says, a history.)

There were moments when I wondered if I should be listening to the calm, dulcet tones of Rich Roll (a long run podcast staple of past years) but some of his episodes are more intriguing than others, and with a long-form style you need to surf for the ones that are most interesting to you. So Sean Rameswaram it was.

You’re wondering how the run went. (I hope.)

It was great.

It was slow, but it was STEADY. No long agonizing walking breaks of defeat. No cramping. No wardrobe failures.

By mile 6 my legs felt that overall fatigue I remember from so many long runs in the past, which made me feel like I was really doing it – I was getting back into half marathon training. This is what I remembered.

I ran 8 miles, putting me back on track to hit 6 or so 10+ mile runs to prepare for the Maine Coast Half Marathon in May. The last time I ran the Maine Coast Half it was an utter disaster because I’d been triathlon training and I thought I could wing it. One does not “wing” a half marathon. (Or at least I certainly don’t.)


Here I am. I got back outside, and I ran for 8 miles, and it was beautiful and not boring and then I came home and Greg had taken the kids grocery shopping, poured me a beer, and made lunch.

Nothing to cry about.

The struggle is real. That run doesn’t look like much on paper, especially compared to past years. But it broke through an emotional barrier I hadn’t realized existed until I stood in the kitchen surprised at myself for tearing up over an upcoming run.

If 8 twelve minute miles in a row are what it takes to get my confidence back, so be it.

Because with confidence, I can move forward.

After I have this beer.


We made our own soy milk and tofu!

I love tofu, and I mean love. Not to be a stereotypical vegan, but it’s one of my favorite foods. It’s warm and satisfying and a beautiful palate for whatever flavors you throw at it.

It’s good in a creamy tomato spinach sauce. Or Jerk style. It is delicious covered in a peanut-y pad thai sauce. Or just marinate it in your favorite BBQ sauce or a light combo of maple syrup, tamari and apple cider vinegar and bake it to go into sandwiches.

It’s delicious.

But it’s sold in a plastic carton or package, and my soy milk comes in cartons… I wonder how many our family consumes in a year, and what the waste we create looks like? I wonder how recycleable those cartons are. Our town won’t recycle the soft plastic anymore.

So I decided we should try making our own!

It’s work, but a lot of it is hands off. The first step is actually homemade soy milk – you can’t make your own tofu from most store-bought soy milks because the additives prevent it from separating into curds and whey.

Will this replace our store-bought tofu and soy milk? I can’t imagine it will… but just like my homemade bread occasionally reduces our bread purchases, this is a fun way to reduce our use of plastics and make a food staple from scratch.

Andrew loved helping!

Here’s a video of the process that I created on Instagram:


You can find a lot of helpful instructions online, including this recipe from ChefSteps and this Huffington Post How-To.

Wondering what to do with leftover Okara? This Okara “Crab Cakes” recipe was recommended to me by someone in the Zero-Waste Vegans Facebook Group. Yup, that’s a group. There seems to be a Facebook group for everything! They can be an incredible resource for crowd-sourcing information and solutions from like-minded people. (Especially well-moderated ones that maintain a positive atmosphere.) I’ve gotten great tips from Plant-Powered Families, a FB group created by Dreena Burton, and I’m in some running groups and a local group for my town as well. (Coyote sightings, where to find the best pizza… it’s a source of fabulous info.)

I hope you are having a fabulous Monday, and that if there’s something in your life that’s been bugging you, you can find a solution!

Cheers, to home-made tofu.

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Eco-Friendly Vacation Items I Love

We were lucky enough to get away over February break for a warm and relaxing vacation!

Before we left, I packed some of my favorite eco-friendly vacation items.

  1. Reef Friendly Sunscreen
  2. A sleeveless dress from encircled that can be worn 6 ways
  3. A long scarf with snaps that can be worn many ways and turns into a blanket for the plane
  4. My reusable water bottle and coffee mug
  5. A list of vegan-friendly dining options on the island

Reef Friendly Sunscreen

Oxybenzone is an ingredient in many sunscreens, but not only is it an endocrine disruptor, it’s also damaging to coral reefs. It’s such a hazard to our oceans that Hawaii is considering banning the use of oxybenzone sunscreens. Read a NY Times article about it here. Look for alternatives that are labeled “reef safe” – they’ll be safer for you, too. The Environmental Working Group’s Skindeep database is an excellent resource for evaluating the safety of sunscreens and their efficacy. Their top kids’ sunscreen list includes a rating of it’s UVA/UVB balance as well as ranking the health concerns associated with ingredients. For our recent trip, we went with Caribbean Sol Kid Care. Read its EWG ranking here. I liked that it comes in a 6 oz size to reduce packaging and that the container is recyclable. We’ve also had good luck with ThinkSport and Kiss My Face.

Putting on SPF garments helps reduce the time spent slathering on sunscreen, so I also loved my SunSmart SPF 50 shirt from L.L. Bean and the kids’ bucket hats and durable rash guards that reduced their sun exposure all week.

A Versatile Sleeveless Dress – from

You can’t see it well here, but that pretty burgundy dress I have on can be worn as either a boat neck or scoop neck in three different lengths: dress, tunic or top. I wore it as a dress to dinner one night, and as a top with linen pants another night. It’s made of OEKO-TEX Standard certified modal, and I’m tempted to snap up the long-sleeved black dress because it’s such a versatile staple that allows me to purchase fewer clothing items and pack less. makes a variety of multi-wear, convertible dresses and tops. The one I have on is the Sleeveless Revolve Dress.

Convertible Scarf

The scarf I’m wearing in that picture has snaps to help you wear it a variety of different ways. It also means it can be unsnapped and turned into a blanket for the plane.

My Reusable Water Bottle AND Coffee Mug

It feels a little anti-minimalist to bring both a reusable water bottle and a travel coffee mug in my carry-on, but we used both all week. Greg and I can split a coffee from the travel mug on vacation, meaning we could save two disposable coffee cups and lids every time we headed out on a morning adventure. Plus, it keeps my coffee the perfect temperature for hours.

I use a hydroflask water bottle and contigo coffee mug, but the market is saturated with good options if you don’t have one already.

Vegan Friendly Dining Options

We were in Barbados, which had several vegan restaurants and veg-friendly options many other places. One cool discovery was Rastafarian “Ital” food. Shortened from “vital”, ital food is plant-based and unprocessed with limited added salts. We had three meals at this amazing Ital cafe near where we stayed. Rice and lentils, mashed sweet potato with pineapple, chickpea and lentil fritters… it was insanely delicious, filling, and reasonably priced.

Also… refuse the straw!

I always try to remember to say “no straw, please” when I order drinks. It’s especially gratifying when I remember if I’m having a rum punch next to an ocean with a beautiful breeze… no one wants their straw to be swept away into the ocean where it can kill wildlife. Even if you throw it in the trash or recycling responsibly, that might not be enough to keep it out of our oceans. And many islands have limited or no recycling facilities. But islanders are pretty chill – if you don’t want a straw, that’s no problem. If you bring your own cup, that’s not a problem either.


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My Life is Full

I read an anecdote somewhere, ages ago, about someone who ran into an acquaintance at the gym. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, the person started talking about how busy they were and all the things they had to do that day and how crazy it all was.

The acquaintance smiled and said, “it sounds like your life is really full right now – that’s wonderful”. Or some such thing.

Lately, my life has been full, too.

If this story makes you want to indulge in a primal scream, maybe your life is too full and something needs to go. How can you take it a bit easier? What can you drop from your schedule or to-do list? How can you prepare for the weeks ahead so the “full” days feel full and not overwhelming?

I don’t have answers, but I like the idea of chasing the emotional state where a busy day can feel full and not busy.

(Or… maybe half full? I could be a cup half-full person 😉