lessons learned in swimming, and have a wonderful weekend!

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we are in utah right now, spending time with our families, and it’s proving to be the perfect little goodbye to a wonderful summer.  we’ve been stuffing ourselves with the ripest and most delicious peaches (allred orchards is where it’s at!) and have been working on helping the littles practice their “swimming” in the pool each day. that’s one disadvantage of new york city living, it’s easy to fall behind on our swimming skills.

on our first evening in the pool together, we had quite the scare getting out.  we’d just taken samson’s floaties off as we prepared everything to go and somehow he ended up back in the pool and swallowed a lot of water before josh got to him to pull him out. fortunately, he is just fine. but there was a solid hour of worry and tears, and a trip to the urgent care to double check everything out before we all calmed ourselves.

there’s this thing that happened to me once i became a mama, where i swear my mind can just wander voluntarily to the most extreme and terrible place when my kids are close to danger and before i know it, i’m thinking the worst. i hate that part of this whole thing, because sometimes i just can’t shut it off and there i am envisioning my stroller falling down a steep set of subway steps with my littles inside it or someone scooting into a busy new york city street.  the pool incident reminded me just how lucky we have been that all of our close calls have been just that, and all week as i have looked at my two little babes i can’t help but kiss and love on them extra.

hope you have a wonderful (and safe!) weekend with your loved ones! thanks for checking in here on occasion and for all of your constant love and support towards my little family and also with what i share here. happy friday! xoxo

a recipe with blue apron!

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a few months ago, i blogged about how we enjoy using blue apron meals in our home on occasion and have been using the service for over a year now. today, we’ve partnered with blue apron to share a fun chicken with braised veggies and barley recipe with you! you can see more recipes and dinner ideas with the blue apron cookbook.

if you’re unfamiliar with blue apron, they deliver all the fresh ingredients you need, in the exact proportions and in a refrigerated box, to your doorstep each week! with our plan, we receive three meals per week, for two people (it’s always more than enough for the kiddos too) for $9.99 per person per meal. what i like is that we can skip weeks or cancel at anytime too, so our plan has remained flexible with our lifestyle. what i especially love about blue apron is that it’s given us the chance to branch out and make new recipes we’d never make otherwise, and since all the ingredients already come proportioned in the right amounts, we don’t ever feel like we’re wasting anything. that’s the biggest thing for me, because i don’t know how many times over the years i’ve bought a big jar of some fancy expensive spice that only required one teaspoon… and the rest of that jar is still sitting in my kitchen cabinet all by its lonesome.

a few weeks ago, we made parmesan basil chicken patties with braised roman beans and barley. you can see the recipe from the blue apron cookbook here, but some photos and the full recipe below!

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for this recipe, we were sent: 2 cloves of garlic, 1 bunch of basil, 1 tomato, 1/2 bunch spring onions, 1/2 pound romano beans, 3/4 cup barley, 10 ounces of ground chicken, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese. blueapron1

following our recipe card, we washed, dried, chopped and diced the produce. we then added the barley to a pot of boiling water where it cooked for about 16- 18 minutes. once the barley was tender, we drained and returned to the pot, seasoning with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

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as the barley cooked, we heated a tablespoon or two of olive oil and sautéed the garlic and white bottoms of the onions with salt and pepper over medium heat. after about 3 minutes, we increased the temperature to high and added the romano beans, tomato and a 1/2 cup water.  once everything was boiling, we covered and allowed it to simmer over low heat for about 22 minutes. once the beans were tender, we added a touch of olive oil, half the green tops of the onions and half of the chopped basil.

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while the veggies braised, we combined the chicken, breadcrumbs, the remaining basil and a pinch of the parmesan in a bowl with salt and pepper. using our hands, we made the mixture into four 1/2 inch-thick patties which we then put over medium heat and cooked about 6 minutes per side (we loosely covered the pan with aluminum foil, as the recipe requests.)

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once the patties finished cooking, we plated them over the barley and braised vegetables. we sprinkled the remaining green tops of onions and parmesan cheese on top. it was delicious! i need more barley in my life. i always forget about that one…

and there you have it! a fun and simple blue apron meal!

also, blue apron is offering the first 100 readers who sign up HERE two free meals on their first blue apron order! you can check out this map of delivery zones to be sure they deliver to your area (they ship nationwide now, to over 80% of the country.)

this post is in partnership with blue apron meals. hope you enjoy the recipe!

taza’s new york city guide: central park

TAZA-NYC-GUIDE-CP-in-whitetoday i’m excited to share a small guide we made with jenner brown highlighting a few of our family’s favorite spots in central park! these guides have been a lot of fun for our family to put together, as we love living in new york city and sharing our favorite things to do and eat and see with all of you! since questions and advice regarding the city is one of my most asked questions as a nyc resident and blogger, i’m hopeful these guides have been or can be a bit helpful for some of you as you visit the city!

central park has stolen my heart over the last few years. with city living where outdoor decks or patios or back or front yards are very uncommon, it’s basically become our backyard. you can read more about the park here. the history of the park is just fascinating!

you’ll see in the video that we spent a good part of our day doing a few of our favorite things in the park with jenner, but we definitely didn’t cover everything in the park (it’s kind of massive!) a longer list of activities and places is below for your reference!

if you’d like, you can subscribe to the love taza youtube channel here to see more video guides!

things to do and eat in central park:

central park zoo (they feed and put on a cute show with the sea lions at 11:30am, 2pm and 4pm!)
64th street and 5th ave 212-439-6500
the carousel
in the middle of the park, at 64th street 212-439-6900 ext. 12
sheep meadow (such a fun place for a picnic!)
65th street transverse (although you can enter from several other points as well)  212-310-6600
the mall and literary walk
in the middle of the park, from 66th to 72nd street
bethesda fountain
in the middle of the park, at 72nd street. make sure to check out the historic milton tile ceiling at the bethesda terrace!
bow bridge
in the middle of the park at 74th street
loeb boathouse (an iconic restaurant on the water, and row boat rentals, too!)
east side of park between 74th and 75th street 212-517-2233
strawberry fields
between 71st and 74th streets on the west side of park
sail boats on the conservatory water (rent little model sail boats to take for a spin on the pond!)
72nd – 75th street on the east side of the park
alice in wonderland statue
east side of park near 75th street
belvedere castle (turtle pond behind the castle is also a fun spot to picnic)
in the middle of park at 79th street 212-772-0288
marionette theatre at swedish cottage (with some of the sweetest puppeteer shows!)
west side at 79th street 212-988-9093
waffles and dinges truck (check their twitter to be sure of location the day of, but usually parked outside the great lawn on the southwest corner)
great lawn
mid park from 79th – 85th street
the reservoir (a beautiful and popular spot of jog or run around, although we have never done it at that speed. we only walk around it. ;)
from east to west side, 85th to 96th street
conservatory garden (soooo pretty!)
east side from 104th-106th streets
we also highly recommend renting bikes and doing the central park loop! the higher loop always kills me, but we love biking the lower loop together.
and wollman ice rink (for iceskating in the colder months, november through march!)
east side between 62nd and 63rd street 212-439-6900
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and if you’re looking for other areas in manhattan to explore, my guides highlighting just a few of our favorites on the UPPER WEST SIDE here, UNION SQUARE TO MIDTOWN here, SOHO + NOLITA here and THE VILLAGE here. more to come!

did i leave out any of your central park favorite spots? feel free to leave them in the comments below for others… enjoy!

family traditions. and biking and hiking fishing, too!

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while we were at lake tahoe last week, we spent some time hiking and biking and just enjoying the outdoors as much as we could. the area was so beautiful, it was hard to spend time inside. it’s always a funny thing for me, because i grew up in the mountains, but i never appreciated them the way i should have until i moved to new york city. i guess i just took it all for granted. i probably still do more than i should.

josh and i have been talking a lot about family traditions. like, what is it that our family will love to do together over the years to come, and carry on over the decades together. we know a family back in DC who all have learned to unicycle, even their tiny children. and they unicycle now in parades or on sunday afternoons together or in the evenings after school and work. it’s such a fun and unique tradition that really gets everyone involved. right now i feel like biking is a big one for us, but we’re not seasoned bikers by any means. biking around the city is a whole different ballgame. but maybe as the kids grow, if they are into it, that could turn into a bigger family thing for us. maybe each family just falls into some sort of tradition by happy accident, maybe you can’t plan what you’re family will love to do together over the years to come. maybe you can’t say, “we’ll be a tennis family…” because who knows if everyone will be up for that. i don’t know… i just want to be sure we cultivate a spirit of loving to do things together from the early years on, and that we can find maybe one specific activity or sport we all love and are passionate about.

anyway, back to lake tahoe. here are a few last photos from our time there last week if you’d like to see….

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^^^their first experience in a bike trailer. i think they liked it. besides those ten minutes where they kept banging their helmets against each others thinking it was funny before it turned out not to be funny and both were crying from a big bonk. ;) and there’s me and mister samson and the baby bump hiking around the lake! ^^^

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^^^we bought a second ergo last year for traveling and hiking. we don’t seem to go too often, but when we do, all we talk about is how we need to do it more.^^^

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^^^hiking with a bit of our family. those rocks are no joke.^^^739458700028937482

^^^the pinkest of skies one night on our way back to the hotel… ^^^

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^^^trying to feed the ducks, but really just unintentionally frightening them.^^^

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^^^donuts early in the morning from a local grocery store that i didn’t think would taste that great but still went out at 7-something in morning to pick some up because you don’t mess with a pregnant lady and her cravings. these donuts exceeded all my expectations though and i ate more than i’d like to admit.^^^

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^^^ice cream face! and jumping into the pool has never been so fun. don’t know how many times we did that!^^^

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^^^more ice cream one afternoon near lakeview beach. it was a little stand by the lake called lakeview cafe with several homemade flavors and if you go, i’m still thinking about the pistachio!^^^

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^^^on our last afternoon, we went fishing in hopes to catch some trout for dinner! josh’s older brother caught 3 fish within the first half hour and our poor kids were growing impatient with our terrible skills. i mean, how hard is it to catch something in a pond packed with trout? (if you’re asking me, very hard! impossible, really!) but josh and samson finally caught one and please note samson’s face in these photos below. he couldn’t have been happier! pure joy, bringing that fish in with the net! it was the sweetest.^^^

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^^^do you see what i mean?^^^

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^^^it was like the world stopped for a good minute while he just giggled over his fish! “i did it! i did it!” and eleanor cheered him on like the sweetest big sister, “you did it! you did it, samson!” such a fun moment for all of us.^^^

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^^^back at the hotel, papa and the men cooked the trout for dinner! i was a little bit skeptical at first, but it actually was pretty delicious.^^^

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^^^oh yes, and we kayaked too! thanks kids for paddling! ^^^

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and that pretty much sums up a few of our favorite moments from lake tahoe! thanks for following along.

lake tahoe!

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we’ve been spending time with family this past week at lake tahoe! besides a rocky day of travel getting here (for me- the kids were such troopers! but i was super nauseous and threw up several times on the plane which was as embarrassing and disgusting as it gets. please tell me i’m not the only pregnant lady whose nausea doesn’t hit hard until the 2nd trimester…) anyway! besides all that, it’s been so wonderful to kick back and relax a bit with our family. it’s our first time experiencing lake tahoe too, and it is beautiful here. the water is as blue and clear as it gets and the trees and mountains surrounding it don’t come in better shape.  a few photos from one of our days here below…

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^^^thanks to my friend candice and other readers for telling us about this pretty beach, sand harbor. we went early in the morning before it got too crowded and enjoyed the little alcove that protected us from the wind (it was so windy!) while we played on the beach and in the shallow water. ^^^

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^^^on a hunt to find some crawdads! ;) ^^^

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^^^i can’t get over the trees! i want to take a few back with me to new york city.^^^

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^^^in complete awe at a crawdad another beach boy caught. this was probably the highlight of their trip so far!^^^

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^^^samson wanted to climb every single rock! and was so very pleased with himself when he did. “i did it! i did it!” he’d shout. why is he so adorable?^^^

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^^^eleanor and papa. they make for a great explorer team. the very first thing eleanor wanted to do when we got there was “climb on the big rocks.” so they went off exploring down a trail for maybe a half hour to go climb some and i wasn’t sure where they went. then i spotted them up on these rocks! it was kind of cute to watch them in action from the water with samson.^^^

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^^^thanks to many of you for pointing us here via instagram. we had such a good lunch at t’s mesquite rotisserie!^^^

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^^^seriously with that blue water! i could stare at it all day…. ^^^