How Starbucks Spring Blend Saved My Life – Or, Moving 300 Miles Away

spring stbks collage 2

I’ll always remember what we did this Spring because we moved from New Jersey to Vermont… and we only had 11 days to do it. My husband had applied and interviewed at a few different places and we were waiting to see if any of those jobs would pan out. We had already gotten permission to do a 6 month extension on our lease, just in case, but once we got the offer for this job in Vermont, it was now or never. Eleven days is almost 2 weeks – totally do-able, right? I don’t think any of us actually believed we were going to go through with the move though, because we didn’t pack a single box until that day.

Not only did we wait until the last minute, we also have 2 young children who made packing nearly impossible during daylight hours. I don’t know how many boxes were unpacked while I was distracted elsewhere and how many times children had to be evicted from box houses (and other newly empty structures) before I realized it was much more productive to pack after bedtime (which luckily isn’t too late at 7 pm). Even so, the adults were up until midnight or later on most nights.

It’s probably not surprising that this adventure involved A LOT of coffee. With fortuitous timing, to say the least, I received a bag of Starbucks’ 2014 Spring Blend to sample! But, since images of us drinking the coffee would also include bleary eyes, no make-up, messy hair and ragged, not-afraid-to-get-dirty clothes which just shouldn’t be broadcast online for all of eternity, instead I give you…

Oren in bookcase collage 2

Only because I received my coffee sample right before all this chaos started, I can tell you that Starbucks’ 2014 Spring Blend is delicious. (By the end of the move, all I could have said was that it was hot and caffeinated). I’m not sure I tasted the chocolate or sweet orange undertones, but I was surprised that the few sips I savored were light enough for my palate, even with this blend being described as a medium body (I generally favor breakfast and other blonde blends). My husband, who is drawn to dark roasts, also enjoyed it. Of course – the one coffee we can happily share is only available seasonally, haha. Coffee can be stored for a long time in the freezer, right? (– looking it up now.)

The day we loaded up the rental truck, New Jersey decided to punish us for leaving with monsoon rain all day and all night. (Worst move ever!!). But the following morning, like an omen of a happy future, we were greeted with nothing but sunshine. We fueled up with more coffee for the 6 hour road trip and it was blissfully uneventful. I would have loved to pair my drink with buttery shortbread and early harvest berries as Starbucks suggested, but unfortunately, I was at the mercy of the convenience stores’ inventory, and it was more like peanut M&Ms and cheese sticks. Luckily, the taste of the coffee didn’t suffer from the lack of sophistication. :)
vermont blog collage big
And now we’re in Vermont – getting to know the people and the area. Most of the trees were still bare when we arrived, but it only took about a week before birds were singing and flowers were blooming (tons of dandelions). I don’t know if my kids will remember ever living in New Jersey, but I will. This is the Spring that we moved 300 miles away. And maybe every Spring hereafter, when the snow completely melts and there’s no threat of it coming back, I’ll sit on my front porch with a cup of Starbucks Spring Blend coffee and thank god I won’t have to move again for a long, long time.

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Family Summer Bucket List: Weeks 1 and 2

We’re participating in the 2013 Summer Bucket List Challenge. Here’s what we’ve checked off so far:

1. Ride a Carnival Coaster – Technically not a coaster but our local carnival didn’t bring one this year so we worked with what we got. O was not disappointed in the slightest to ride the spinning dinosaurs.

coaster collage
2. Play with Water Balloons – Take that 90 degree day! (unfortunately Daddy and I were too caught up in trying to get each other that we forgot to take more pictures). Our purple Pumponator worked like a charm and O loved pumping and counting (exactly 7 pumps was perfect for us). P.S. the Pumponator is also great for shooting water at unsuspecting victims but it’s not fast on the refill so it’s easy for the other party to get revenge.

water balloon collage 2

Yes, I was playing with cool photo effects.

3. Go to a New Museum – We visited the Museum of Science in Boston over Memorial Day weekend (The Dead Sea Scrolls special exhibit tipped the adult votes away from the Children’s Museum). Since none of us had ever been there before, I was worried it might be better for older kids but it turned out there was lots of stuff O found fascinating and that was totally in her skill level. We attended a free show about Lightning where the world’s largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator created lightning bolts indoors for us (recommended for grades 3 and up but O has never had a problem with loud noises) and a free live animal presentation on geckos. We also bought tickets for the Butterfly Garden exhibit which rewarded O, after being unbelievably patient and still, with 2 butterflies landing on her knee. We also loved the full dinosaur skeletons and life-size T-Rex model, and the Science in the Park exhibit (included with ticket price) which was basically a playground (The museum site explains it as: “Run, jump, swing, and use familiar objects to investigate the pushes and pulls of everyday life.”). Highly recommended. P.S. If you ask the info desk, there’s a private nursing room (not on the museum map) that you can use if unoccupied!

Boston museum collage 2

Clockwise from top left: 1. Don’t worry, the baby was “driving” at a rest stop. 2. O started with a green elephant then said she was building a house around him. 3. Have you seen these optical illusions where the object looks like you can grab it? 4. The view from inside the Butterfly exhibit. 5. Waiting patiently for butterflies. 6. Mommy had a brown butterfly land on her the moment we walked in.

4. ADULTS ONLY – Zip Line Date with Zoom Ziplines at Mountain Creek, NJ. I bought tickets for this from LivingSocial back in December as a Christmas Gift for my husband. They operate year-round (so yes, you can zip line in the snow!) but since the trip there and back would take half the day, we needed to wait until Number 2 was a little older and nursing less often – luckily we had until June to use the deal. We rode a Gondola lift up the mountain, did a short training zip line and 3 big zip lines, walked across a suspension bridge and sat in a Unimog back to the Gondola lift down. Our guides were competent, friendly and I felt very safe with them. Although I’m not totally sure it would have been worth it at full price, my husband and I had a blast.

Zipline collage 2

The gondola lift and the view of NJ as we went up the mountain

Zipline collage 1

Left: The longest zip line (our barely visible landing deck marked with an arrow) and Right: my husband and I in our gear.

Our Summer Bucket List


I found this on another blog and I’m glad I did! First of all, I love making lists period (have I mentioned this before?). So making a specific summer fun bucket list is something I’d naturally gravitate towards and one I haven’t done before. I’m going to try to make sure that my list includes both family fun activities and some mommy fun stuff too. Still a work in progress obviously, but wanted to post the first few things that came to mind.

  1. Have baby #2 and recover
  2. Make sure little O still feels loved, secure and hopefully not too jealous of the new baby
  3. New Jersey State Fair – we miss this every year! And it’s usually in Secaucus which is one stop from Penn Station. Even though O is probably still too short for any of the rides and my prego belly is going to keep me off the fun rides, there’s usually still a petting zoo, fun demonstrations, carny food, etc.
  4. Make initial pancakes (and decorate with whipped cream)
  5. Central Park Zoo – ashamed to admit we still haven’t been here
  6. Make fruit popsicles
  7. Bronx Zoo again – we’ve been to this one but didn’t make it through the whole thing cause this zoo is Huge! Maybe an elephant or camel ride too?
  8. Use the new sand and water table that O got for her birthday from her Auntie & Uncle
  9. Paint with O using the Glob paint kit I just got (probably after newspapering the entire kitchen)
  10. Finally try that Turkish restaurant near our house
  11. Make room for another family member? (no, not #2 – he’s already got space)
  12. Catch fireflies
  13. Go to the beach (more than once!)
  14. Stay up late to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July
  15. Attend storytime at the local library
  16. Ride our bikes with toddler trailer (at least until hubby refuses to let me ride anymore due to the unfortunate combination of clumsiness + prego belly)
  17. Make homemade ice cream (decaf coffee choc chip for mommy!)
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