Are you a mom who needs some encouragement?

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Sometimes motherhood can feel like a 90 degree climb up a mountain (or, in this case, the red climby thing at the Grange Fair Playground). I feel my best when I’m connecting regularly with my friends to share stories, advice, support, and laughter. You, too?

Consider these local opportunities to build friendships into your motherhood:

1. Penns Valley MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers): New this year!

When: Meetings are once a month on a Tuesday from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Where: The Old Gregg School in Spring Mills

Request to join the Facebook group, so you can receive updates about the meetings, announcements, and outings.

2. Twenty Minute FUN BEGINNER Outdoor Workouts with Joan! 

Contact: Joan Karp at blueberryhillacademy@gmail.com 

When: September 18, 23, 25, 30 and October 2, 7, 9, 16, 21, 28

Time: 6:30-6:50pm

Just $30.00 for 10 training sessions – you may square up with me on the 18th.

Here’s what Joan says about the group: No judgment. Starting where we are and improving from there. These 20 minutes will simply ear-mark time to for you to connect with YOURSELF, clear out any stress you might have from your day, build muscle, create a need for oxygen, and help you learn what you can do at home – without a gym – to see and feel results! We’ll be referencing the highly recommended book It Starts With Food.

(If you have younger children, children in a stroller… they may join us.)

3. Penns Valley Moms Playgroup: Simply check in with them through Facebook to find out when and where they’re meeting next!

What are some other ways for moms to connect in the Valley?

Enjoy your home,

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Our Sunday Night at Elk Creek Cafe

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After 5+ months of hunkering down at home with our newest baby, Ryan and I were happy to go out together Sunday night. A musician friend of ours grew up with the bass player in Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys. Lee said we wouldn’t want to miss this final show on their 2014 tour. We arrived at Elk Creek Cafe a few minutes before five, took our seats, and were completely wrapped up in the gorgeous bluegrass music. Lindsay Lou’s voice was so rich and interesting; she made it appear effortless. The four musicians leaned in together to piece the perfect harmony. In between songs, they’d switch up instruments, showcasing their true love for music. Some songs were gorgeous melodies that pulled at my heart strings, while others were toe-tapping tunes that inspired folks to share something clever to the people around the table.

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For my meal, I ordered the perfect Apple+Bacon+Cheddar Salad with a glass of Cabernet and sat back to enjoy the show.

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With my arm resting on Ryan’s knee, things couldn’t have gotten much better. There’s just something mighty refreshing about the skill and beauty of artists. I day-dreamed about writing meaningful lyrics; I bet Ryan daydreamed about adding the dobro to his ever-growing collection of musical endeavors.

For dessert, I ordered the chocolate brownie sundae with chocolate and caramel sauce and spicy walnuts. I’m sure the kitchen staff barely had to wash my dishes, I cleaned ‘em up pretty well on my own.

The whole evening was delicious.

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Don’t miss out on Elk Creek Cafe’s delicious food and incredible live music. Check in here for frequent reminders of their upcoming events.

Cheers, and…

 Enjoy your home,

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Do you Miss Old-Fashioned Community Picnics?

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The Fellowship Bible Church invites everyone to a Picnic and Concert this Saturday, September 13th at 6:30 pm at 642 Lower Georges Valley Road, Spring Mills.

The picnic will start at 5:00 pm (food and drink will be provided by the church).

The concert will follow at 6:00 pm with Last Generation from Somerset, PA.

Bring a lawn chair and a friend!

(photo credit)

Enjoy your home,

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Plan the Best Penns Valley Autumn Ever

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Are you looking for meaningful things to do in the Valley this Fall? We’ve got you covered!

We’re excited to be back in the swing of posting great community events for you to enjoy. Here are a few of our personal favorite things about Autumn in the Valley…

 #1. Go to the Penns Valley Homecoming Parade and Game! 

The Parade will be Thursday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Grange Fairgrounds in Centre Hall. The Game is Friday, September 26th at 7 p.m. at PVHS. Go Rams!

#2: Dec the Halls for Autumn! 

The Valley is the place to find beautiful Fall decor for your home. Stop at a local farm for this year’s mums, and shop Weaver’s Store in Spring Mills, Steiger’s Americana in Centre Hall, Good Scents in Millheim, or Elk Creek Dry Goods (off Route 192) for this year’s spicy candles and autumn decor.

#3. Go to “The Farmer’s Wife is Bringing in the Harvest”. 

This is a fun annual event hosted by a local farming family. To get you excited, check out last year’s description. Stay tuned here: more info to come!

#4. Enjoy the Aaronsburg Dutch Fall Festival.  This year’s festivities take place October 11 – October 12th. As the details roll out about the great vendors and raffle prizes, we’ll let you know!

#5. Stroll Muddy Paws MarshPull off of Route 45 for a breath of fresh air.

#6: Hike Seven Mountains Nature Trail

#7: Go on a hayride!

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All Spring and Summer, farmers and tractors have been moving dirt, planting seeds, spreading manure, and harvesting crops. Now, it’s time for those same farmers and tractors to tote some people around. It’s hayride time!

Stay-tuned here and we’ll let you know when you can make your plans, grab your sweaters, and snuggle up on a hayride!

What’s your favorite thing about Penns Valley in the Fall? 

Enjoy your home,

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Today’s Lunch With The Garden’s Tomatoes

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The next time you’re bipping down Route 144 (aka Old Fort Road) in Centre Hall, stop by The Garden, a local farm’s produce stand. You’ll be impressed by the orderliness and the quality of the food. Besides fresh produce, they also sell local flowers, honey, and lots of local pickled/ jarred foods.

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This morning, I harvested some basil from our own garden and couldn’t stop thinking about one of my favorite summer lunches…

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So, I loaded the kids up in the van and checked off THREE things from my “To-Do List”

* dropped off recycling in the parking lot next to Snappy’s (it’s now sporting a Salvation Army donation bin)

* picked up several quarts of strawberries from the Amish farmers on the corner (we freeze them and use them for smoothies during the winter)

* stopped by The Garden just as it was opening at 10 a.m. for some perfectly ripe tomatoes.

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When we got home, we paired our produce with slices of mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and cracked pepper.

 

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Several times a month, Ryan has delicious business lunches at places like Kelly’s Steakhouse and The Autoport while I nibble PB&J at home with the kids. When he gets home from work, I ask him where he ate lunch, thinking I’ll be happy for him.  He tries to make it sound like the salmon salad was no big deal. But I know better. Despite my good intentions, every time I just end up feeling very, very jealous. But not this day. This day, I’m eating summer.

 Enjoy your home,

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Calling all Soon-to-Be-7th-Graders!

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Has your 6th grader been longing to be included in the PVYC fun? It’s time to be part of the fun!

Penns Valley Youth Center invites all going-to-be-7th-graders and their families to a Family Picnic on June 11th at 6:30 p.m.!

We will be having a cook-out with amazing food, lots of games, and a time for the parents to learn about what’s going on this summer and fall at the Youth Center. This will be our welcome for the teens who will be in 7th grade next school year so spread the word!

Check out our Community Calendar for information about all of the great things going on in the Valley this week!

 Enjoy your home,

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On The Farm: Grilled Romaine

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When Ryan and I were newly weds and living in a tiny little house with a kitchen the size of a postage stamp, my cousin announced that he was driving 3 hours across the state to make dinner for us. Before his arrival, he sent a grocery list for me. I faithfully gathered the salmon, salted butter, fresh garlic, real parmesan cheese, and romaine hearts.

I wasn’t going to cut corners on this shopping trip. After all, this wasn’t just any old cousin or any old grocery list. This was Tim, the family chef. Tim, the chef for the Eagles. He knows what he’s doing.

When he arrived, he rolled up his sleeves, fired up the grill, and chopped the romaine hearts in half. He drizzled olive oil, minced garlic, dashed salt, cracked pepper, and flaked parmesan. Then, he put the hearts on the grill. I stared in amazement, wondering really? Grilled lettuce?? Somehow, I couldn’t imagine the enormous football players gobbling grilled lettuce after a grueling day at training camp. Surely this wasn’t one of Tim’s go-to recipes. As the lettuce sizzled and wilted, I reasoned that perhaps Tim was taking advantage of the opportunity to cook for 120 pound newly weds who lived in a postage stamp and ran 10K’s on the weekends. He must have figured we’d nibble the greens happily, pat our stomachs, and say something about having to retire for the evening.

As it turns out, that lettuce was divine and satisfying. Crunchy + wilted. Spicy + salty. Fresh + savory. It was the perfect complement to the salmon filets, creamy potatoes, fresh bread, chocolate mousse and white wine. (After that, we really did pat our stomachs and settle back in our lawn chairs.)

I think about that meal every summer when the grill loses its veil and the lettuce grows faster than the salads we can make. For us, that’s right about now.

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So yesterday, Kai and I went out to the garden and lobbed off two heads of beautiful romaine. (Ours doesn’t grow in perfect “grocery store hearts”, so I wasn’t sure if it would work.) Nonetheless, I accessed my “inner Tim” and drizzled, dashed, and minced. Then, I piled little bundles of leaves on the grill and used up the last bit of gas from Summer 2013…

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We all enjoyed the delicious leaves from our own land. In fact, our 9-year-old must have eaten an entire head of lettuce – scooping the leaves up and tilting her chin back to catch the delicious drizzles of olive oil and garlic.

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Go on and try some! Here’s a simple recipe for Grilled Romaine Hearts.

Fire up the grill and…

 Enjoy your home,

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4th Annual Pink Day: This Saturday!

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 Enjoy your home,

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School’s Out! Let’s go to the Pool!

Splash Bash 2014Enjoy your home,

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This Weekend: Covalt Gospel Sing

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This weekend, head out to the Grange Fairgrounds to enjoy the annual Covalts Gospel Sing. If you’ve never heard these folks sing… if you’ve never sung along… consider it a Penns Valley Bucket List Item!

June 6 – 8!

For more info, check out the Grange Fair Web Site.

 

 Enjoy your home,

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