Category: Continuing Ed

The July Adventures Continue with Mudderella

We spent the Fourth of July weekend in western Massachusetts with the first stop at The Clark which was gorgeous and calm. We visited for the Splendor, Myth, and Vision exhibit (on view through October 10th) as well as the stunning permanent collection of Impressionist paintings. A lovely afternoon in the museum followed by a short hike through the grounds.

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View from the terrace

Then it was on to Charlemont and the Warfield House Inn, a lovely bed and breakfast on a picturesque farm. Good thing we warmed up with a hike on Friday because Saturday and Sunday were action packed. Since we’ve been white water rafting a few times, I knew what to expect, we had a terrific guide – no one even came close to falling out of the raft -and we made new friends, too. But zip-lining was a new experience for me, and while the rest of my family LOVED it, I liked a little bit of it – the brief, fleeting moments when I forgot to be afraid –  but those moments were only sparsely interspersed throughout the rest of my mostly anxiety fueled day. I don’t like heights or high speed anything, so, yeah, not really my thing. And I do have to give Berkshire East a huge shout out for having well-trained, professional, patient and kind staff members, and a wonderfully well-run program.  Thanks for the adventure weekend, dear family, but next time let’s do something a little more my speed, like…going to a bookstore or another museum…okay?

And the adventures continue! At first I was only cautiously optimistic about completing the upcoming Mudderella event. Now? Not a worry. If I can fling myself across a canyon on a cable, I can tackle any obstacle, mud included. What is Mudderella?

Mudderella, what is it?

  • A unique, 5-mile obstacle mud run where women are able to come together and celebrate strength, teamwork and everything that makes them feel like an empowered woman. The course, designed by women for women, promotes working together, having fun and owning your strong. We never refer to the event as a race or talk about participants in terms of competing –it’s more about taking on a challenge together!

When/Where

  • It’s taking place in Epping, NH on Saturday, July 30th.

What’s the course like?

  • The course features 12-15 obstacles. You can check out our 2016 obstacles here – including completely new obstacles Stunt Double (a 10’ leap onto a crash pad below in front of cheering teammates and spectators) and Charlie’s Angles (a steeply sloped A-Frame structure). It helps to be a good runner, but you don’t have to be a trained marathon runner in order to be a Mudderella. You can go through the course at your own speed and can skip an obstacle if you’re not comfortable with it. Remember, you’re stronger than you think you are.

Why?

  • Mudderella was created as an opportunity for women to experience new challenges alongside other women – whether these women are our friends, family, or someone else running next to us on event day. The courses are designed to not only challenge you, but to bring you closer together.

And I have a discount code (15% off) for you, too. It’s MUDMOM – go to this page to learn more. Sign up with some friends and have fun!

There are tons of things to like about this event – celebrating teamwork, strength, women’s empowerment, fun, mud, and laughs, and what I also love about it is that Mudderella partners with Futures without Violence, a national nonprofit that is working to prevent and end domestic violence. You can donate through this page or build a team to raise money for this wonderful nonprofit organization. FYI – Mudderella New England events have raised over $90k for local chapters of the organization over the last two years.

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Mudderella also has great training tips and workouts to help get you on track. Check them out – I’ve only just started The Basics and am working on my cardio, too! I signed up to do this for my daughter and her friends – it looks as if I am both the chaperone and the person they will have to help over every obstacle. It’s about team building!

I’ll keep you posted on my workout progress and share pics of the team shirts we’re making. Go team!

Follow Mudderella on Twitter,Facebook and Instagram. And check out their blog and Youtube channel.

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post but am being provided with admission to the event.

A Summer of Volunteering with a Side of Adventure

IMG_1436While I hadn’t planned on doing anything particularly adventurous this summer (I really never do plan for adventures as I really do prefer to grab a good book and read), it turns out that I will be white water rafting, zip-lining and running (or maybe just observing), a fun obstacle course run in July – Mudderella. I’m most nervous about the zip-lining and will let you know if it actually happens. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe it’s too much.

I am also going to continue to work, and to volunteer for some great local organizations which is more my usual speed, and if you or your teens need volunteer ideas, here are a few – (italics indicate text from website of the organization featured).

NNHS Center for Civic Engagement and Service at Newton North High School – ask to join the Facebook Group here. We connect you with volunteer and intern opportunities!

Cradles to Crayons  provides children from birth to age 12, living in low- income and homeless situations, with the essential items they need to thrive.

Every year, thousands of volunteers pass through the doors of the Cradles to Crayons Giving Factory warehouse to roll up their sleeves and help disadvantaged children around the Greater Philadelphia region. Together, youth and adults inspect, sort, and package all new and like-new donations into customized “KidPacks”.

Anyone age six and above can volunteer at the Giving Factory. Activities are appropriate and engaging for individuals, families, student and community groups and corporate groups. Our warehouse space allows us to accomodate large numbers of volunteers, so it provides an exceptional team-building experience for companies. Sign up for a 2-hour shift on our website. You will work at a volunteer station such as Clothing Sort, Outfits, School Supplies, Shoes, Toys, or Shopping.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital
People volunteer for many different reasons. They may wish to become actively involved in the community, meet new people, explore career possibilities, develop skills and experience or share their special touch when people are sick. Whatever the reason, volunteers do make a difference. Volunteers make it happen.

Newton Free Library

Grad Bag 

A green initiative to reuse college dorm supplies. We collect and redistribute lightly-used dorm room items that too often end up in landfills and give them to incoming college freshmen from low-income households.

Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program

Donation Drives – Small Gestures, Enormous Impact

Our patients face the unimaginable challenges of life in shelters, on the streets and in temporary housing, while struggling to maintain their health. Acquiring basic necessities can be difficult, and we welcome the help of corporations, faith-based groups, schools, colleges and individuals to organize donation drives to meet these needs.

The seemingly small, practical items gathered in these drives can have a tremendous impact. Distributed by our doctors, nurses and case managers, they not only improve the quality of care we deliver, these items help us develop and maintain the trusting relationships that are such an essential part of our work.

Futures without Violence

(through a partnership with Mudderella) is a national nonprofit that is working to prevent and end domestic violence by developing innovative programs and policies that:

  • support victims, survivors, and their families and help them get to safety
  • educate individuals about the critical roles that we all have to play in promoting healthy relationships
  • promote mutual respect as the foundation of healthy relationships
  • support children who are exposed to violence at home and in school
  • enlist health care providers and health systems to improve domestic violence responses
  • and much more

And don’t forget to register to vote –

 

 

Bike and Roll it Forward

Spring is finally here and spring cleaning is next so when you put away your snow shovels and dust off the bikes, check and see if there are any you aren’t using and give them to someone who can use them. Sounds good, right? But how?

Well, the City of Boston has a program called Boston Bikes. Check out their website here. And Boston Bikes runs a bike donation program that gets your old bike into the hands of someone who could really use it with their Roll It Forward Program.

Roll It Forward began as a project of Boston Bikes and the Boston Public Health Commission. Originally funded by a stimulus grant from the National Institutes of Health, the program seeks to make cycling a more accessible transportation option for low-income communities. Roll It Forward collects, repairs, and distributes bikes to low-income Boston residents who might not otherwise have access to a bike. By distributing bicycles and providing bike safety education, the Roll it Forward program promotes a healthier lifestyle of increased physical activity and fewer trips by car. The bikes from the program serve as a family’s first step in adopting cycling as an ongoing activity for health and convenience.

As of January 2015, the program has distributed more than 3,800 bicycles, with a goal of distributing 1,000 total in 2015!

Check out the site for safety tips, a fun quiz and most importantly, how to get your old, unused bikes to someone who could really use them. Roll It Forward partners with local bike shops to refurbish the bikes. Learn more about the process here.

Donate to Roll it Forward

You probably have an old bike in the basement or a few bikes your kids have outgrown. Put them to good use! After you donate your bike, Roll It Forward will repair it and match it up with someone who can use it.

Here’s how:

1. First, check this page to make sure you’re giving us something we can use.

2. Then, choose where to bring the bike. Find the donation collection location nearest you.

  • Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) (offer 20% off one full-price item OR 20% off any bike service!)

Boston/Allston: 1041 Commonwealth Avenue, (617) 254‑4250
Cambridge: Harvard Square, 1 Brattle Square, (617) 864‑2061
Newton: 300 Needham Street, (617) 559‑1575

  • Belmont Wheelworks : 480 Trapelo Road, Belmont (617) 489‑3577
  • Dedham Bike: 403 Washington St, Dedham Square, (781) 326‑1531
  • Giant Cycling World-Boston/The Fenway: 11 Kilmarnock, (617) 424‑6400
  • Back Bay Bicycles — Boston/Back Bay: 366 Commonwealth Ave (corner of Mass Ave), (617) 247‑2336
  • JRA Cycles — Medford: 229 Salem St, Medford, (781) 391‑3636
  • Seaside Cycles — Manchester-by-the-Sea: 23 Elm St, Manchester, (978)526‑1200
  • Sudbury Residents: You can take your bike directly to the town recycling center and request that it be donated to our program. Sudbury Recycling and Refuse Center, 20 Boston Post Road, Sudbury MA 01776, (978) 443‑2209 x 1221

3. Optionally, request a reward claim form: While supplies last, Boston Bikes will send you a jersey/t-shirt (size dependent) OR a Perfect Fuel Chocolate Gift Pack in thanks for your donation. To be eligible, request a claim form by contacting rollitforward@gmail.com and bring the claim form with you to the drop off location so they can sign it.

4. Bring your bike in to any of the above locations and let them know it is for Roll it Forward. They’ll receive it and some shops even offer customers a thank-you coupon for bike donations.

Feel like you can do more? Great.

Volunteers needed! Help us strip bikes of viable parts for our Roll it Forward program on Wednesday, March 9 from 4-8p in Dorchester. We need folks who are mechanically inclined. Learn more and sign up here: http://bit.ly/1QPknH7

Or don’t have any old bikes but think you know people who do? Run a bike drive.

To learn more and to find some helpful tools:

Guide to Organizing a Bike Drive

Bike Drive Flyer Template (customize for your event!)

Find Boston Bikes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Perfect Portion Cookbook – perfectly in time.

While we always strive for balance here – sometimes things tip in a not ideal direction. Like keeping to healthy eating during the holidays, or special events or…heck, I’ll say it, winter. So I was thrilled to get to review The Perfect Portion Cookbook and, happy days – this snow day is perfect time to explore comfort food in just right portion recipes. Oh, and happy days? Yes, even more so because Anson Williams, formerly of Happy Days*, is one of the co-authors of this sweet cookbook. Potsie? You ask…can cook? Evidently, and especially when teamed with the NYT best-selling cookbook author Bob Warden and Cornell educated nutrition expert Mona Dolgov.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes from this cookbook that combines comfort food with healthy portions. I’m not great at figuring out what a healthy portion is, so this cookbook is really helpful. There’s even a chart for ideas on how many calories to eat throughout the day. The chart shown is based on 1,800 calories per day but there are guides in the book breaking down both 1,500 and 2,000 calories per day. This is a a general reference guide, as every person’s caloric needs are different. Always consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or nutrition program.

Let’s start with a hearty breakfast to gear up for snow shoveling, sledding, skiing or just playing outside in the snow! We love avocados -it was the first food for both of my kids – and avocado toast is something we are on board with any time of day. It’s terrific after school snack and great for breakfast on the run. What, you don’t eat breakfast in the car?

No tomato? No basil? No problem – it’s perfect as is.  Or add chia seeds or red pepper flakes to change it up. Did you know you can freeze ripe avocados? You can. Simply halve them and store in zip-lock bag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For lunch my snow day go-to is grilled cheese and tomato soup – love these two perfectly portioned and delish recipes. I’m switching it up today and making the lentil soup partly because I have all of the ingredients and partly because we are out of sandwich bread. Sigh. That’s a New Englander fail right there. I do have batteries and milk, though and thankfully all the veggies.

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There are 150 comfort food recipes that take you from breakfast to the hearty fare for SuperBowl Sunday, snacks and sweets. I love a good recipe video and here is one for Southwestern Chile that I’m going to try next. You know, after I dig out the car and get to the grocery store.

I’m planning on making these yummy Cheese Crackers next – so many delicious recipes!

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The Perfect Portion Cookbook is available for pre-order now on Amazon $29.95 and will be sold on QVC for a limited time with a special pre-order price of $19.95 plus $5 shipping/handling at this link.

 

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post although I did receive a copy of The Perfect Portion Cookbook for review. All opinions are, and always will be, my own. Now I have to go dig out the car and get some sandwich bread.

*Included for my, ahem, younger readers.