Archive for the 'local' Category

The end of an era

Almost five years to the day later, Mollybear’s time at Woodland Montessori has come to a close. And, as I walked to the car after dropping her off for her last morning, the emotions that come with that hit me hard. I knew I’d feel sad thinking about the passage of time and lament losing the cocoon-feeling of Woodland, but I didn’t know that it would make me feel a little lonely.

I got in the car and watched the younger children play on the playground and I watched  teachers Molly had had in the past mill about, chatting with other parents who still had years left with the school to enjoy. And I thought about how my family is just a little blip in the fabric of the school, but how these five years have left a deep impression on the three of us that we will surely feel for a lifetime.

I thought back to the decision to choose Woodland all of those years ago, letting go of our other option, and jumping into this expensive, inconvenient, beautiful wonderland. I was nervous, but felt so much joy and gratitude that we were able to be a part of and participate in this thoughtful community. And while there have been bumps along the way (mostly because I don’t deal with any change well), the past five years have been more than we could have hoped for. We will miss you, Woodland. Thanks for everything.

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A local meal delivery subscription

Folks, Pasture and Plenty. Just. I mean, Pasture and Plenty.

Delicious. Local. Fun. Easy.

Repeat. Times 1,000.

Guys, I just think if you’re doing meal delivery, and you’re not using Pasture and Plenty, you’re doing it wrong. P&P’s model is more than a zillion times better than the others we’ve tried.

Here’s where I started on this short journey to asking someone else to step in to help out with our meals. First, as those of you who know me know,  I don’t cook and I have about zero interest in it. Second, I know that we need to be fed good food. Third, and most importantly, Aaron. He loves to cook. LOVES IT. And he’s so good at it. And he loves feeding people, especially those he loves. But when your life is overwhelming you in other ways, your joy can become just another stress and obligation, or some sort of funhouse mirror to you that’s distorting you’re vision of yourself.

We need our household to take more deep breaths, enjoy each other, and wait for the blue wave. But in the meantime on the latter, I’m trying to spend money on some things I think will really improve our quality of life by cutting out stress. And one of these things, I’ve decided, could be, meal deliveries. [Aaron was not really on board with this experiment, but I nudged him to let us try. And just wait. Semi-spoiler, I know. He. Loves. It. Thank goodness because otherwise I’d come off only like a controlling jerk.]

Over the last year, we tried a few meal delivery services. And this is my report.

Goal: less stress; easy, feel-good and wholesome meals, that would give us more time together.

In tries with the nation-wide meal deliveries companies (I think we ordered from Blue Apron & SunBasket, but I could be wrong on the latter. I should have written posts contemporaneously with the cooking, but honestly, both experiences were both a bore and a headache, I didn’t want to bother.), what we generally got were:

  • oodles of non-reusable packaging, which caused us stress for the clutter and guilt for the waste
  • lots of prep and cook time (fine for me if I were trying to cook and learn something new, but silly for Aaron bc he could do this without the delivery and did nothing to ease the goal of giving us more time)
  • uh, fine meals, kinda. nothing to write home about — honestly, I can’t remember a single one. I think maybe there was a burger?
  • of course, not local and all that shipping that accrues food miles and oy

But behold! Pasture & Plenty!

Holy Eden!

  • they’re still remodeling their kitchen, so the packaging has been a little bit disposable since we started, BUT NOTHING like the others we tried. And the meals come in these cute reusable tote bags. And I really can’t even. Amazing. UPDATE: Now things are in awesome Pyrex, which we return each week.
  • And here’s maybe the bigger thing. Aaron knows how to cook. And I’m 43. I want to do other things. These meals are—you get 3 a week—for the most part, ready to go. One of the three involves some cooking. But, even it is really simple and won’t take you long. These meals are designed to simplify your life.
  • HOLY BANANAS ON FLAVOR AND SPECTRUM AND MEDLEY. The larb-style lettuce wraps show up in my dreams. And M-Bear loved the chicken parmesan, which shouldn’t be crazy, but is. Because she’s 6 and M-Bear. It’s just beyond.
  • And it’s local. And sourcing local. And we can walk to pick it up. In short, #nailingit

But because Aaron is such a phenomenal cook (best chef anywhere) and a complete I-can-do-it-all-er who has not fully embraced his 40s and accepted that it means that you can now socially justify hiring people to help you, it took some convincing for him to give into trying this. But I wanted him to ease up on expectations he puts on himself and let go, give in, embrace the gray, and enjoy the spoils.

I mean, look, we all know he’s *awesome.* I’m consistently (if not daily, or hourly) told how I really lucked out. And I agree. He’s an amazing cook, dad, husband, lawyer, person, friend, handyman, etc. But can we just get some meal delivery so he doesn’t have to go bananas all the time trying to do it all for us?!

We can! And now do.

Um . . . Winner!

Well, I totally nailed it with the Big Mouth Pasta order. We dug Into the gnocchi and its accompanying tomato sauce (Aaron shaved some delightful cheese on top – it was vegan, as sent.)

I really wish I’d ordered 800,000 of these gnocchi meals. Now, you literalists, knock it off. I get that that wouldn’t have been possible. Blah, blah. But I hope Big Mouth Pasta can continue to do these glorious pastas for home. Pop ups are so cool, but the chance to enjoy delicious, locally-made food at home? Crazeamaze! And this is holy yum. I mean, I’ll be dreaming of this for a long time.

In sum, ordering local, premade meals is a total hit so far.

New year, a little late

I’ve made a new vow to myself to try to make things easier on me and those around me. And to not apologize for it so much (I was about to start out by saying, “I know my life isn’t so hard, but it feels like . . . blah blah blah. But I’m not going to do that.).

To that end, I’m trying a few new things. Some self-care. This is taking a couple of forms at the moment. The big one is letting go of the idea that taking the easy route is somehow bad. Yes, we can forage for dinner from the ingredients in the fridge, but we can also order in and that’s a-ok. Yes, I can go to the store and buy some flowers, but ordering a monthly subscription of flowers from Bouqs has already made us so much happier than any flowers from Trader Joe’s ever did. And the smaller ones are doing things like making my bed more often than not, doing a little gentle yoga most days, and trying to say no more often. Well, that last one isn’t small. But it’s a very big work in progress.

And then I’m trying to make things a little easier on AO. Although he loves to cook and is the best chef I know, there is never enough time in the day for him to get to all of the cooking projects done that he wants to do. And he often ends up being very hard on himself for being too tired to have an interest in making meals every night. So, I thought we should try something new that could give him a well-earned break and maybe even allow me to help out in this area. I mean, we all know that I’m not going to actually cook cook, but I can probably handle putting things on a plate or following a recipe with pre-measured ingredients. Maybe. We’ll see.

So, to that end, this week we have pasta meals coming from Big Mouth Pasta and next week we are trying out a four-week subscription to Pasture and Plenty. I love that these are both local businesses and that the ordering processes couldn’t have been easier. I’m really excited to see how this works for us and I feel really liberated at letting go of the idea that we have to do this all for ourselves. Because there’s no medal for doing it all.

Stay tuned to hear about the meal stuff!

A Madison tradition

I was sad to read this news today, but despite my mom’s misgivings on Rocky’s pizza, I’m grateful for the tradition. And like a good Madisonian, Aaron now has Mollybear hooked on it.


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