Playlist Thursday: Songs by Dudes

First things first! The winner of my giveaway is: Liz K! I have sent your info and you should be contacted soon, congratulations!

It’s that time of the week again. Time to link up with Pavement Runner. This is an awesome link up I always try to partake in because I get to see songs that I might not have otherwise heard of and I always end up adding at least one song to my running playlist. Make sure you head over to Pavement Runner to check out everyone else who contributed this week.

Playlist thursday teal

Today’s theme is: Songs by Dudes

SOMETHING OLD
Artist: Jason Aldean

Title: She’s Country

Side Note: I may not be from the South, but this girl is country born and raised. You never forget your roots.

Quotable:
She’s a hot little number in her pick-up truck
Daddy’s sweet money done jacked it up
She’s a party-all-nighter from South Carolina, a bad mamajama from down in Alabama
She’s a raging cajun, a lunatic from Brunswick, juicy Georgia peach
With a thick southern drawl, sexy swingin’ walk, brother she’s all

Country, from her cowboy boots to her down home roots
She’s country, from the songs she plays to the prayers she prays,
That’s the way she was born and raised, she ain’t afraid to stay, country
Brother she’s country

SOMETHING CURRENT
Artist: Maroon 5

Title: Daylight

Side Note: Love this song, luckily it is over played for me, yet..

Quotable:
Here I am waiting, I’ll have to leave soon
Why am I, holding on?
We knew this day would come, we knew it all along
How did it, come so fast?
This is our last night but it’s late
And I’m trying not to sleep
Cause I know, when I wake, I will have to slip away

SOMETHING TO CONSIDER
Artist: Bruno Mars

Title: Runaway Baby

Side Note: I LOVE Bruno Mars, he is one of my favorite artists of our generation. Although, I tend to like his non-singles more than the released singles, runaway baby is one of my favorites.

Quotable:
Run, run, runaway, runaway, baby
Before I put my spell on you
You better get, get, getaway, getaway, darling
‘Cause everything you heard is true

Year of Baking: Bake It In A Cupcake’s Conversation Heart Brownie Bites

Don’t forget today’s the last day to enter the FitnessGlo giveaway!

For Valentine’s Day I made a pretty luxurious meal — at least in terms of our weekday meals. I made bacon wrapped filet’s and roasted brussels sprouts, asparagus and baby red & purple potatoes. I apologize in advance for the photos, I forgot to take photos in the daytime and I ended up taking them when the sun was setting.

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For dessert I went with your typical valentines dessert — chocolate.

A friend from college sent me a link to the Bake It In Cupcake blog a few years ago when I started blogging. I have pinned a ton of the recipes and this year Nick bought me her book.

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There were two Valentine’s themed recipes in book, and getting a heart in a cupcake seemed a little complicated…so I went with option two, Conversation Heart Brownie Bites – but since I decided last minute the store I went to was out of conversation hearts, so I picked up a bottle of white, red & pink jimmies (or sprinkles from you non-New Englanders). I also only had one mini-muffin pan and you need two for this recipe, so I made muffin size brownies.

BIIACbrowniebites

Ingredients

4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, broken or chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup conversation heart candies, plus more for garnish

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Line 2 miniature muffin tins with paper liners
3. Place the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds
4. Stir and microwave for 45 more seconds
5. Continue to stir the butter & chocolate until the chocolate is melted
6. Using a wooden spoon stir in the sugar — it will be thick and grainy and the sugar should be evenly distributed
7. Stir in the eggs in one at a time until the mixture is smooth
8. Add the salt & vanilla and stir for 20 seconds
9. Last – stir in the flour, until just combined — do not over stir.
10. Use a 1-inch cookie scoop and spoon the batter into the muffin tin cups so they are about 3/4 full.
11. Press a few of the candy hearts into the top of each brownie, with the words facing up, do not cover them.
12. Bake for 20 minutes or until the brownies have set
13. Allow the brownies to cool for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack

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Notes

I used one regular size muffing tin for 12 brownies, I also used semi-sweet chocolate because I did not have unsweetened chocolate (even thought I did not — whoops).

The brownies turned to be very sweet but not too bad, I also felt like it would have been fine with just one stick of butter, I felt like the butter taste was very strong.

What I did love was the that the brownie was nice and chewy on the outside but nice and soft on the inside. Next time I would definitely make them in a mini tin since the large size was a bit much. As much as I loved these, the Flour brownies are still my favorite though.

Check out more great eats on Jenn’s site for WIAW


Gym Rules

Don’t forget Wednesday is the last day to enter the FitnessGlo giveaway!

This post may not be favorite of some of my readers, but I feel like it is something to address. Now that people have stopped complaining, for the most part, about January Joiners they have started complaining about other aspects of the gym.

I have seen posts about rules you should follow at the gym. I am not writing this to call anyone out. I will admit I have complained about people at the gym before, I am the first to admit I am not perfect.

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I sparkle when I sweat & I love kettlebells.

Some of the common rules I have seen:

Don’t dress to impress

I know I am not the only one that likes to dress in flattering clothes, but here is the thing, feeling confident and great in what I wear makes me worry 100% less about what I look like at the gym. And this clearly has nothing to do with picking up men at the gym, obviously. But I am my biggest critique when it comes to what I look like. If I see in the mirror that this is hanging out and this is jiggling — then I am going to feel like shit and probably lose whatever good thing I have going. So what if someone wants to wear makeup to the gym? That might not be what I like but it certainly isn’t bothering me.

Share equipment

Every blogger and gym goer has a different opinion, and frankly it is confusing. Some want you to share weights & equipment between sets, some want you to work your reps and sets and put your equipment back ASAP. I do what I am comfortable with, if someone got to the weight set before me, then I figure something else out. Not too complicated, don’t let it ruin your entire workout.

The gym is not a social place

The gym is not a bar or your local coffee shop, I get it. But there is something to be said about gym camaraderie, if I am at the gym 4 days a week at the same time as 3 other people. Does it hurt to make small talk, no? Does it make sense to tell them my life story? Nope, but we are all at the gym bright and early, I bet we have at least one thing in common.

Make sure you are using the gym equipment properly

This is my biggest issue, especially with those who work in the fitness industry, instead of mocking the person that is struggling with a machine or weights or an exercise, if you know what they are doing, ask them if they need help. You aren’t hurting anyone.

I am sure there are a hundred other “rules” that bother me, but these are the ones I see repeatedly. What bothers me is that everyone is saying oh, people need to get into the gym, they need to get fit and healthy, etc… Yet here you are dissing “january joiners” and then setting rules for the gym you go to. Yes, we all have preferences of how we would like the gym to be, but not all of our presences will align, so why can’t we just accept that?

Off my soapbox for the day :)

What rules do you hate or love when it comes to the gym? I love it when people wipe down the sweaty equipment after they are done!

FitnessGlo: Review & Giveaway!

Source: fitsugar.com via Laura on Pinterest

 

If there is ever a quote that is my daily mantra — this is it.

I haven’t been shy about the fact that for the past 3 years I have been using my home as my gym, although that is changing – I will address that in another post, today I am telling you all about your new at-home or on-the-road fitness tool, FitnessGlo.

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FitnessGlo states:

FitnessGlo was designed to change the way you feel about fitness. Many fitness programs get very complicated, very quickly and before you know it you’re tracking so many different factors, it’s easy to lose your way or decide to skip your workout altogether. Our goal is to keep it simple: find a workout, do the workout.

Our classes have been created to get you moving and feeling good about you. When you move, you begin to feel great and when you feel great, you can truly enjoy living.

FitnessGlo was created for women, by women and is designed for busy women; whether you are a mom, travel frequently for work, or just don’t live close to the gym, it was designed for you to get in a workout during your busy day. The classes are shorter, but can be combined with other classes if you have time for a longer workout. There is also a balance tracker to see if you are maintaing balance within the strength, cardio and stretch classes every week.

I have taken a plethora of classes from barre to cardio to stretch. Some classes have been easy and some have been extremely hard. I will be honest, the first class I took was level 3 Cardio Athletic (the hardest level) and I had to stop because it was so difficult, it was almost embarrassing. Then I realized that this program is not just for those who are new at fitness, it spans all fitness types and there are multiple ways to challenge yourself.

FitnessGlo makes it very easy to do a quick workout when B is sleeping or when I am having a crazy day.  It’s nice to know that when I am having one of those crazy mom days, I can take 10 minutes of my time and get in a workout, and I always feel better when I get a little sweaty.  The website is also very easy to use which is a huge plus, being short on time – the last thing I want to do is waste time on the website.

You can search for classes by style, teacher, duration or level.

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You can also schedule classes, I did this at first, to try out a bunch of different classes.

Scheduling a Class

Scheduling a Class

But you can schedule one class as a recurring schedule. I have my stretch session scheduled for every day that I am running.

Strrrrretch

Strrrrretch

I do not stretch enough, so I actually set a reminder in my phone to stretch immediately after my run. It’s easy I have my computer set up in our guest room, so I head upstairs and immediately open FitnessGlo and follow the stretch class. It is pretty simple and pretty easy, well the stretching isn’t easy but getting to the video is.

Is FitnessGlo affordable? It costs $12 a month to have access to this program. That is one or two lunches out from one week. You can totally swing that in your budget, right?

So how can it get better? I have one 90 day membership to giveaway, courtesy of FitnessGlo!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own

Year of Baking: Flour’s Oatmeal Maple Scone

For this weeks adventure in the year of baking I decided to tackle Flour’s Oatmeal Maple Scone. B and I had big plans on Saturday for brunch. I was going to see some of my college friends that I hadn’t seen in far too long, and B was going to play with the other babies. Our gracious host was making blueberry cake and said if we wanted to make something we could, but not required. I definitely had to make something, and scones seemed like a great brunch side dish.

Flour has a bunch of recipes, but I liked the idea of the Oatmeal Maple flavor. I picked these because it was something I could make ahead of time and grab on my way out the door.

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I liked that I had all but one ingredient (pecans) on hand. I also decided to omit the raisins, because I just don’t like them. I thought about adding chocolate chips but then I decided not too. Good Decision.

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The last two scones

These scones were crunchy on the outside and soft and crumbly on the inside. They seemed to go over really well at brunch and Nick ate all the leftovers, he especially loved dunking them in his coffee. I don’t think that we were missing anything without the raisins, but I am glad I didn’t add the chocolate because they would have been too sweet.

In my oven they were done right before the 30 minute mark, so know your ovens, keep an eye on how brown they are getting.

My plan was to make the glaze Saturday morning, but I woke up late, so I didn’t, honestly I think they were fine on their own. Nick even said they tasted just like the ones from flour. That’s a win in my book.

Even the creator herself agrees!

Even the creator herself agrees!

Recipe

Ingredients:

FOR THE SCONES
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8-10 pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cold egg

FOR THE GLAZE
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer), combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pecans and raisins on low speed until combined well. Add butter pieces and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds or until butter is broken down but with pebble sized pieces still visible.

In a separate small bowl, whisk cream, maple syrup, vanilla and egg together. With mixer still on low speed, add wet ingredients to dry mixture and beat for about 30 seconds until just combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and scrape down sides to make sure that all dry ingredients have been incorporated. Using a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measuring cup, drop rounded scoops of dough onto a baking sheet 2 to 3 inches apart. You should have 8 scones.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Start checking at the 30 minute mark. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about half and hour.

Make the glaze while the scones are cooling. Whisk together sifted powdered sugar, maple syrup and water. Once the scones have cooled, brush tops with glaze.

If you keep the scones for more than one day or freeze them, they can be “refreshed” by heating in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes.

Delicious Scone

Delicious Scone

Check out Jenn’s post for more delicious eats


A Relaxing Weekend

This weekend was exactly what I have been needing lately.

Love this sweet face

Love this sweet face

Saturday B and I had a very special brunch at my friends house. There were 7 of us, we all went to the same college and were a part of the same sorority. There were also 3 babies. I didn’t take any pictures, but it was nice to spend a few hours with friends and drink mimosas and have our kids play with each other, even if they all aren’t old enough to do that quite yet.

I came home and Nick’s mom was here, she helped clean, do laundry and make some food. It was nice to relax for awhile – then Nick and I headed to our Valentine’s dinner. We went to the local sushi place, and we splurged a bit with a few apps and the more special rolls, but it was nice to have a night out.

Sunday it snowed – again. It was no blizzard, but it wasn’t fun and our road was not plowed until late afternoon, so we had a day inside. I was able to get a great workout and stretch in via Fitness Glo, then I was able to have some down time.

I pulled out a box to put some of our serving dishes in and someone thought it would be more fun to play inside of it.

Spot the Baby

Spot the Baby

Monday was nice because Nick had the day off. I got my workout in bright and early, grocery shopped, and did a ton of meal prep for the week.

What was exciting for you this weekend? Did you have a long weekend?

Playlist Thursday: Grammy Winners

It’s that time of the week again. Time to link up with Pavement Runner. This is an awesome link up I always try to partake in because I get to see songs that I might not have otherwise heard of and I always end up adding at least one song to my running playlist. Make sure you head over to Pavement Runner to check out everyone else who contributed this week.

Playlist thursday teal

Today’s theme is: Your Choice, so considering the recent award show, chose to feature grammy winners.

SOMETHING OLD
Artist: Usher

Title: Yeah

Side Note: Usher won best R&B performance.I remember Usher from when he used to wear those silk shirts on his 90’s music videos. I bet he’s glad those went out of style. Plus we all know I love a good mid-song LUDA rap.

Quotable:
Cause I do know if I take that chance just where is it gonna lead,
But what I do know is the way she dance makes shawty alright with me.
The way she getting low!
I’m like yeah, just work that out for me.

SOMETHING CURRENT
Artist: Mumford & Sons

Title: Ghosts That We Knew

Side Note: We know that I love Mumford. I was so happy that they won album of the year. Instead of picking a single you know, I picked one of my favorite songs from the album. I use it as a cool down song usually, as it is a bit slower

Quotable:
You saw my pain, washed out in the rain
Broken glass, saw the blood run from my veins
But you saw no fault no cracks in my heart
And you knelt beside my hope torn apart
But the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view
And we’ll live a long life
So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
Cause oh they gave me such a fright
But I will hold as long as you like
Just promise me we’ll be alright

SOMETHING TO CONSIDER
Artist: fun

Title: We Are Young

Side Note: Firstly, the lead singer used to be the lead singer of Straylight Run…please tell me I am not the only one that loved them? I think there songs get a ton of radio play, maybe too much? But I still love their music, and thankfully I don’t listen to the radio that often. Also they won song of the year for this one!

Quotable:
Now I know that I’m not
All that you got
I guess that I,
I just thought,
Maybe we could find new ways to fall apart
But our friends are back
So let’s raise the cup
‘Cause I found someone to carry me home

Year of Baking: Bouchon Bakery’s TLC Cookie

For this weeks year of baking I was really hoping to get something Valentines Dayish up, but unfortunately, it just didn’t happen, so you will get something post-valentines next week!

I have decided to add recipes to the posts, I won’t be using all the recipes in the books I am looking at so it doesn’t discredit the author, plus if you like one, I hope you will go buy your own. I will be updating those links this week.

I know that this month’s WIAW is Love your veggies, so I thought I would share some of my most recent veggie eats before I get to the baking.

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Some of my favorites: roasted brussel sprouts & asparagus, I also love a big bowl of greens with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and avocado. Usually I put our protein on top of the salad (fish, chicken, etc…)

Now onto the cookies

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I actually chose these because the recipe said that they make 6 cookies, and I had all but two of the ingredients on hand.

The recipe comes from Thomas Keller & Sebastian Rouxel of Bouchon Bakery. Even though I have never been to one of his restaurants I have always been a fan of Thomas Keller’s work, after reading rave reviews of his bakeries I knew I had to go to one. Since there isn’t one locally I knew I had to get my hands on this cookbook as soon as it came out. It is currently on backorder at Amazon, but Barnes & Nobles has a cheap online price and ships fast.

The cookie was named for Laura Cunningham, I like most of you I’m sure, thought TLC would have some cute cookie abbreviation, but it is named for Laura since she was found picking raisins out of the cookie, they replaced the raisins with nuts and the TLC was born.

A few things of note with this book, everything is given in weight, example 153 grams of flour. There are notes with measurements, but it threw me for a loop at first, the egg was only in grams/Tbsp and I realized after a lot of work that it was one large egg. Whoops.

I didn’t have the vanilla bean or pecans on hand, but with the price of one vanilla bean, woah, I decided to buy that and use the walnuts I had on hand. I made the dough and realized it was a lot, how was this supposed to make 6 cookies. Turns out the Bouchon cookies are about 5″ in diameter, the recipe noted that you could make it into 12 cookies instead and had time adjustments.

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Oven Style

The recipe had you chill the dough, which I did, then I immediately put them in the oven. I missed the note about letting the dough get back to room temperature first, so that definitely affected the cook time.

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All in all I really liked these cookies, at first I felt like they were missing something sweet chocolate, but when I had one for dessert I really like them they were chewy and a bit savory. I dabbed mine with a smidge of peanut butter and they were delicious.

Ingredients

153 grams All-purpose flour (1 cup + 1/12 T)
2.3 grams Baking soda (1/2 tsp)
1 gram Cinnamon (3/8 tsp)
138 grams Granulated sugar (1/2 cup + 3 1/2 T)
75 grams Dark brown sugar (1/4 cup + 1/ 1/2 T)
212 grams Unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (7.5 ounces)
1/2 Vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
52 grams Eggs (3 T + 1 tsp)
134 grams Old fashioned oats (1 3/4 cup)
134 grams Coarsely chopped pecans (1 cup + 2T)

Instructions

1. Place flour in a medium bowl and whisk in baking soda and cinnamon
2. In another bowl whisk together the two sugars
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with a paddle attachment, place the butter and cream until it hold a peak when the paddle is lifted
4. Add the sugars and mix for 3-4 minutes
5. Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla bean and add to bowl. Scrape down sides of the bowl and mix for about 30 seconds
6. Add eggs and again mix for 30 seconds and then scrape down sides of the bowl
7. Add half of the flour mix and mix for 30 seconds or until combined
8. Scrape down bowl again and mix in the rest of the dry ingredients
9. Add oats and pulse the mixer 10 times to incorporate the oats
10. Add pecans and pulse a few more times to combine, scraping down the bowl again if necessary
11. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes
12. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper
13. Using a #10 (2 1/2 inch) cookie scoop, divide the dough into 6 equal portions, 145 grams each, roll each one into a ball between the palms of your hands
14. Place 3 cookies on each pan, staggered (the two end cookies should be on one side of the pan, the center cookie on the opposite side)
15. Bring the cookies to room temperature before baking until golden brown — 14-16 minutes in a convection oven (preferred method) or 18-20 minutes in a standard oven
16. When done, remove pans to a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to cooling rack to cool completely

Notes
I think that the cookies were still large for my taste, I am glad I made 12.
I did not have a #10 scoop so I eyeballed the size, they were for the most part the same.

Inspiring Blogger Award

Before I get to today’s post I want to say thank you to all your kind words on yesterday’s. I got word today that my grandma is officially out of ICU, she is one tough cookie.

I also have some great news, I have joined Kona Kase as an affiliate, join now and start getting your kase of the month. If you have any questions feel free to email me!

Now onto today’s post:

vib

Here are the rules:

~Display the award logo on your blog
~Link back to the person who nominated you
~State 7 things about yourself
~Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and link to them
~Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

I have a love/hate relationship with these types of things, while I think it is a great honor when another blogger nominates you, I also struggle with coming up with random facts about myself. Thank you to Shanna for nominating me

Seven Things About Myself :

1. I was in a sorority in college and some of my best friends to do this day are from that group of women. I also wish that I was closer to my sorority in general.

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2.  I used to have a pierced eyebrow, I only took it out before I went to Greece to meet some of Nick’s family.

3. From day one my best friend for life has been my sister. She is still my best friend, I love her.

Back Camera

4. I am independent and rarely ask for help. I hate feeling needy and like I can’t handle my own business.

5. I am always dreaming of the ocean.

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6. I love traveling, I love traveling with these two, and NOLA was absolutely one of my favorite places.

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7. I don’t open myself up to many people. I am guarded and I hate being vulnerable, at least about the “big” things. I won’t even open up unless prodded. I’m a real peach huh.

Instead of naming 15 people, because I could not narrow the blogs that I love to just 15, so I am taking a page from my CT homegirl, and nominating everyone who reads this. Or just tell me a random fact about you in the comments.

 

Thankful for Blizzard 2013

I am sure if you read a fair amount of blogs from those who reside in New England, I am sure you have probably read more than you’d like about Blizzard 2013. So while, mine is also about the storm, it has a bit of a twist on how Massachusetts did some really great things this time around.

I am sure you’ve also heard that Governor Patrick put a driving ban on the state starting at 4 pm (and was not lifted for 24 hours), you could face up to a $500 fine and a year in jail. Based on my facebook and twitter feed, people were annoyed and didn’t get it. I’m assuming these are the same people that go out and drive in the storm and get stuck and waste emergency services to get back home.

We were all home on Friday, so we got to watch the snow fall like crazy, we went to bed Friday night, thankfully still with power, and prepared to lose power overnight. Luckily, that did not happen.

We decided to take B outside and see how he felt about the snow, and also clear off the steps from the driveway to the front door, luckily we have a plow guy for our driveway.

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This was right outside our garage door.

What we didn’t know was that our plow guy had already come once, at about 3 am. Crazy. B did not like being in the snow, so we went back inside to snuggle and watch movies while Nick shoveled.

We spent the rest of the day hanging out, baking, and waiting for our street to get plowed. Luckily that happened around 4 pm and our plow guy came back for a second round at about 7 pm.

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Bobcat with a plow

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Our driveway pile

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Front & side of the house

Unfortunately, I got a call from my dad on Saturday (during the ban) that my grandmother had a heart attack on Friday night. So many things had to happen in order for her to survive. This storm alone forced her to go to my aunt and uncles so she wouldn’t be home alone. My uncle knew the symptoms she was experiencing were that of a heart attack. Since no one was allowed on the roads, a plow truck showed up with an ambulance at my aunt and uncles and essentially cleared a path straight to the hospital.

I spent a lot of time at the hospital yesterday with her, and I am very thankful that all these things fell in place so that she could still be with us. This is just a reminder that near and far, family and friends that are like family are super important and we should make time for the ones we love.

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Love my family.