Summer Entertaining

Well happy July — Almost August. Where did summer go? We have spent the better part of our summer traveling between home, Napa and Lake Tahoe. I feel so lucky that we are right in-between two beautiful places. My husband’s family is located primarily in Napa. We had out of state family visiting as well as my niece’s wedding and a surprise 50th birthday party for Steve’s brother. It was a lot of family time and amazing moments. Tahoe is just close enough to escape the heat. We did a few day trips, a camping trip to Camp Richardson and then a 2 night getaway to The Resort at Squaw Creek. It was go, go, go but every minute was wonderful.

I am a bit of a decorating and entertaining dreamer. I literally lie in bed at night and think of things I can decorate or parties I could throw. I thought I’d share some fun finds for summer entertaining. It’s a bit of decor, food, drinks and just all around fabulous party ideas.

First we have to start with some pretty decor.

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I love these jars of flowers that I found on Pinterest. Original source unknown.

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I love this simple tables cape at Style Me Pretty. You could use cloth napkins with a simple piece of rosemary or lavender sitting on top as well. I also love that using mixed patterns has become quite trendy and it’s a great way to up cycle as well. You never know what fabulous new pieces you might find at garage sales, flea markets or thrift stores.

 

Summer-Lemonade-BarGiggles Galore shared this adorable make your own lemonade bar. Kids would have a blast creating their own concoction.

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Of course a grown up version of a beverage bar would be a hit. So how about a mojito bar?

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Gourmande in the Kitchen shares this appetizer using herbed flatbread and then topped with arugula, almonds and fresh parmesan. It looks light and refreshing. Plus it’s gluten and grain free.

 

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I had to throw in a tomato recipe since tomatoes are in season and there really is nothing better then a fresh garden tomato. How about some grilled tomatoes with a basil vinaigrette? Yum! This was over at My Recipes.

 

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These kabobs at Natasha’s Kitchen would make a great main course. You could of course sub chicken or even shrimp for the beef if you wanted.

 

Delicious-Very-Berry-Cheesecake-Oat-BarsBeauty and Bedlam gives a step by step tutorial on these mouth watering berry cheesecake bars.

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Peach Cobbler is a great ‘go to’ summer desert. With fresh peaches available at Farmers Markets, you just can’t go wrong.

If you feel like throwing a little summer soiree I have given you some funny summer entertaining ideas. ;) Do you have go to receipts for hosting summer dinners? Please feel free to share.

 

My Latest Color Obsession

It started with this fabulous bedroom decor over at Life in Grace. And then it pretty much just snowballed from there. Turquoise and coral. Oh how I love thee. The blue ranges from a true turquoise to a minty greenish blue. The coral ranges from pinky to orange. I love it all. So I’d like a scoop of pretty blue with a scoop of coral on top please. Do you get my point? If I have not convinced you yet, let me try with photos.

girlsroom7Source – Life in Grace

Mason JarsSource – The Shabby Chic Wedding on Etsy

il_570xN.584683297_r5r3Source – Etsy

bedroomSource – Unknown via Pinterest

 FramesSource Etsy, The Speckeld Egg

WreathSource, Etsy Redesign Accessories

braceletsSource, Etsy AlaGoods

Now I should go. I am getting all caught up on Pinterest and Etsy finding these amazing things to share with you. Before I know it, I will be repainting my house and shopping for accessories in this lovely color scheme. Do you have a favorite color? Does your decor change or stay the same? I could change mine often if it wasn’t for the lack of moolah. Not that I don’t do a bit here or there on a budget. Reshopping my own home is a great way to decorate too.

Summer Fun

I decided to do a little searching for some creative summer fun ideas. Ya’ll know where I went first, right? Yep to my Summer Board over at Pinterest. My boys are getting big. One is 11 {going on 13} and the other is 9. They are all about being social. They would be happy just playing XBox and swimming all summer long with their friends. I should mention that we don’t have a pool. Thank goodness for amazing neighbors who fill this void. In my little Pinterest ‘hunt’ I found some stuff that just screams summer. Freebies, party ideas, bucket lists …

I love this idea of hosting a Sidewalk Chalk Festival over at My Kids Eat Off the Floor {formally June Bug Parties}. What a great idea to entertain the kiddos while the adults mingle and perhaps have some cocktails? ;)

invitationSew Home Grown created this fun printable. Wouldn’t it look great framed on a mantel with some fun summer accessories?

summerprintableI am a sucker for all things chalkboard related so this sign from Scrapping with Liz jumped out at me instantly. It’s a bucket list created on a chalkboard. Swoon.

swl_bucketlist_digitalscrapbook3Its a Lovely Life shares some sweet popsicle recipes. I think these are on my bucket list for tomorrow.

PopsiclesI’ve always wanted to host an outside movie night for the kids and their friends. Prairie Hive shared their version of a movie night complete with cute decor.

UnknownDo you have any fun and fabulous Summer plans? I’d love to hear them. Creative, fun, different .. feel free to share. Happy Summer friends!

 

 

 

Quinoa Goodness

I know, strange name for a recipe but it’s a mash up of so many things. I created it using leftovers in my fridge and it is Delicious (yes, with a capital D). It was basically an accidental creation that I love so much that I just had to share. I did not measure. What you see is just a little of this and that thrown into a bowl, mixed up and devoured. It does not require dressing because the avocado and goat cheese make it kind of creamy. I think dressing might over power it although a tad lemon juice and olive oil might make it pop. What you will need:

  • Cooked Quinoa
  • Avocado
  • Green onions
  • Fresh corn off the cob (must be fresh or the taste just isn’t the same)
  • Goat cheese (crumbled)
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Cherry tomatoes (halved)

This is a cold salad so make sure the quinoa is room temp before adding. Mix all ingredients together and viola, lunch is served.

You get something that looks like this:

Quinoa

This has been my lunch for the past two days and tomorrow will make for day #3. I love all of the yummy garden foods that come from summer. Corn on the cob is my current obsession. What about you? Are you foodie obsessed? What is your go to lunch?

This and That

Hi friends, I disappeared. It’s not that I didn’t want to blog. I just got lost. In trying to find balance I sometimes let things go. Not because I want too. I love blogging but sometimes it takes a back seat to the million and one other things brewing on the home front. So work and kids and family won. But I am back!

Summer is upon us which entails all kinds of busy. And balancing. I should say that I don’t ‘love’ summer. It’s not really summer but the hot hot hot. I don’t like the heat. If it could hit 80 and stay there I’d be happy but nope, it quickly moves on up to 100 and kinds hangs around there for most of the summer and into October. The activities that come with summer are fun though. I love escaping to Lake Tahoe and enjoying the mountain air (and cool down). I love popsicles and ice cream with my boys. Wine with the neighbors. Sleeping in. No schedules. No school lunches. Late night movies. Relaxing. Swimming with the neighbors. Taking more photos. Making memories.

My boys are growing fast (as kids do. Sigh. Slow.It.Down) These past few summers have been so much fun exploring and letting them just be kids. We are beyond the naps and diapers. We don’t have to schedule in down time like we used too. We can just go. In the new school year my oldest will start 6th grade. A new school and new friends. So this summer is kind of a big deal. I have realized that you can’t get moments back. That you have to live your dash. Know what I mean? So a  couple things on our summer bucket list (aside from a graduation, a bridal shower, a wedding, camping, a 50th birthday and Scout Camp. Oh and someone is turning 40 this summer. Yes, this girl) are days trips. I love day trips. We are tucked in-between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. Both are excellent places to escape for the day. Hiking more. Playing more. Being present. Hosting more BBQ’s and dinners and maybe even ‘just deserts’. A get away or two with my hubby. I so cherish that one on one time with him. Maybe attend a concert (It’s been on the ‘list’ for some time). Dates with my boys. Time with my girlfriends. Times does fly. Nothing makes you aware of that as much as having children.

Hopefully in the midst of the hustle and bustle of ‘summer vacation’ (which feels more busy then the rest of the year sometimes), I’ll be able to check in more. Share recipes. Post my current decorating obsessions (that change weekly, have I mentioned my current affinity for coral and robins egg blue?), discuss crafting. You know, all the stuff that makes this blog so me.

So until next time sweet friends. Hugs to all of you who ‘stick around’.

Kindness Matters

Yes, once again it’s been awhile. I’ve given up on being consistent and will post as I find little windows of time. I’m working full time for the next 6 weeks so that means I won’t be on the old blog much but I had some stuff that was on my mind as of late and thought I’d throw it out there. I truly love writing and finding fabulous things to share with my readers but time really does get away from me.

This is a little hodge podge but all really comes back to one thing, how we treat one another. Today I heard a morning radio show promoting an anti bullying campaign. I was in my car, on my way to work and I was completely sucked in. The conversations between the DJ’s and listeners calling in were eye opening. There are various opinions about who teaches children about being kind. It ultimately starts at home but one of the opinions is that schools should be more accountable and on top of students that bully. OK, so this is a tough one and it actually was a conversation that I had both on Facebook and also with the principal at my kids school a couple of weeks back after a few kids called my son ‘gay’. I expressed my irritation at this name on Facebook. Of course it sparked a huge conversation both on and off of Facebook (why I love Facebook, it can be a great place to ‘put it out there’). Several people suggested that I discuss it with the principal to which she (being my Facebook friend) spoke up and said that she makes it a point to discuss at monthly assemblies that bullying is not OK and will not be tolerated. I was able to catch up with her at school a couple of weeks later and we had a deeper discussion about it. In her eyes (and mine as well), being kind is not hard and something as simple as a compliment could make a persons day.

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Here is my take, it starts at home. Unfortunately some children are not taught the basics of  kindness and compassion. In which case the place where they spend most of their time could step it up a little. One suggestion was classes on anti bullying. We spend so much time teaching our kids science, math and history but so much of what they learn are lost along the way. I for one don’t recall the answers to many of the things that are on my kids tests and homework but do I know how to treat people? Yes. If I could send my children into the world with any skill what would it be? Not the ability to master chemistry but the ability to be kind and compassionate. The ability to connect with others. To be a friend. To make others feel special. To make others feel loved. To build relationships.

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So many thought provoking quotes come to mind,

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak but there echoes are truly endless” – Mother Teresa
“Your wealth or status doesn’t make you. Your kindness and character do” – Venkat Desireddy
“My religion is very simple. Kindness is my religion” – Dalai Lama
“Compassion is a verb” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” – The Help
” If you can’t be kind, be quiet” – Unknown

On last nights Academy Awards, Frozen won for Best Original Song. Cause yeah, “Let it Go” has become the anthem for people everywhere, mostly woman it seems! In case you live in a  bubble (in my house it’s sung loudly over and over and over by my boys and myself), here is the official video for Let it Go. The writers, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, gave a great acceptance speech but my favorite was the part dedicated to their daughters, “Never let fear or shame keep you from celebrating the unique people that you are.” What a powerful thing to say to your children. Let them be who they are. Let them own their uniqueness. So much of our society is busy keeping of with the Joneses (not the Kardashians). Trying to fit molds. Competing with one another. For what? Be you. Own who you are. All of you. The good, the bad and the ugly. Don’t try and be someone else.

We live in a day and age (I sound so old — I’m pushing 40 you know!) but seriously. Things have changed in a major way. Our kids don’t just use names to hurt one another but they also have other tools at our disposable. Things like technology and social media. So that means we have a bigger audience. Which is terrifying. My child was called gay and let it roll right off of him. Thankfully he has a strong sense of who he is and knows that so many people say things just to get under each others skin. THANK GOODNESS my child deals with things like he does. I hope he always does. So many kids don’t. They take it to heart, they hurt, they don’t know how  to cope. Sadly you hear of kids changing schools because of bullying, teenagers committing suicide. All for what? A lack of kindness and empathy? Something has to change.

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Spread kindness and love. It is contagious. I promise. Oh, and have a lovely day!

697d32d46a805824b5f9dfc94819ab80 Source

Valentine’s Day Fun

Valentine’s Day is just a week away and my house is all a glow in red {but not pink … I don’t know why but I am not into pinks for decor so I stick to red}. Still, my decor is pretty cute if I can toot my own horn. Toot toot. I thought I’d share a photo of my mantel and one of a cute buffet table in my entry as well.

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My 3 Reed Dotters hosted the cutest cookie party. What a fun idea to celebrate a sweet holiday like Valentine’s.

Cookie Bar

Tatortots and Jello always wows in her holiday and everyday decor. I love how she made these pretty paper rosettes and I am a sucker for anything xo.

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She’s Crafty used so many of my faves – chevron, black, white and red, owls, letters. I could go on and on {and on}.

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The Happy Scraps created this fun display using the word L-O-V-E and added a little bunting to make it even cuter {if that is even possible!}

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I make yarn wrapped wreaths but I have yet to try yarn wrapping letters. How cute are these over at My Sister’s Suitcase?

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Crafty Texas Girls did a cute dresser display. I love the ‘love’ banner, don’t you?

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Sources for my decor:

  • Pom pom flowers and chalkboard – made by me
  • Hobnail vase & numbered plates – Rodworks
  • Pom Pom garland – Target dollar bins at Christmas time
  • Old window frame – found by my dad, painted by me
  • Vase filled with glittery red hearts, hearts are from – Joann’s
  • #4 – Steinmart
  • Be Kind printable {this is one of my favorite quotes in the whole world} – Three Little Monkeys Studio

Wishing you all sweet things everyday. Hugs and kisses to each and everyone of you sweet blog followers out there.

 

Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies

A couple of things, #1 – I love baking. I only want to sample said baked item and pass it on. Still, my butt and thighs hold on to that tiny taste. Sigh. #2 – My best intentions of keeping up on the blog {and keeping the content fun, fresh and current} fall to the wayside. Life just happens and days go by. Sigh again. I wish it would slow down just a tiny bit. Anyway, enough fluff. I wanted to share this delish little recipe that I found on Pinterest but it truly belongs to Averie Cooks. Her recipes have caught my eye a few times now. Mmmm goodness! Peanut butter was the desired ingredient and this recipe just looked simple and well, satisfying. It was. My taste testers all agreed. Two thumbs up!

Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c creamy peanut butter
  • 1 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c old fashioned whole oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 c white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c peanut butter chips (I used more white chocolate chips as it’s what I had but you can sub whatever chips you’d like)

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and peanut butter together.  This took me about 45 seconds on high.
  • Add the brown & white sugar to the melted butter & peanut butter mixture and stir.  Let sit til slightly cooled and then add the egg plus egg yolk. You don’t want to ‘cook’ your eggs in the hot mixture hence letting it cool. Add the vanilla and stir.
  • Then add the flour, oats, baking soda and stir.  This recipe stirs quite nicely. I tend to use my mixer for everything but these mixed great by hand.
  • Finally, add your chips.
  • Scoop dough using a cookie scoop and put on parchment paper lined baking sheets about 2 minutes a part. Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes. I always seem to bake cookies at the longer time and they come out perfect.
  • Let cool slightly and then serve warm with a cold glass of milk. Yum!

 

Freshening Up — Office Nook Redo

Happy New Year! Welcome to the month of purging and organizing. I mean, you almost can’t avoid it as all of the stores have the  containers to make this easy for you on sale. In your face. So it just feels like you are ‘supposed’ to do it. Plus after months of shopping, cooking, decorating etc it just feels like the thing to do. That and working out but seriously. lets stay on task. I’m much better at organizing and purging my home them I am my diet and workout routines.

We have a little built in space that is honestly not used a whole lot. I tend to do all of my blogging and crafting in the kitchen cause I like to be where the action is. The office nook is at the top of our stairs and I feel a bit confined but it was built into our builder grade home so I like to utilize it the best I can. It currently houses kids craft stuff and all of our files are there as well. I added a few pretty yet functional boxes to dress up the space and hold craft supplies in a much prettier way. I also have a giant chalkboard for little bits of inspiration. Instead of standard pencil holders I bought some fun glass containers. By clicking on the photos below, you can see a larger version. For some reason I can’t get them to view bigger directly in this post without making them look like a stretched out pair of socks. Sad but true.

beforeandafterSources:

Chalkboard Boxes // Kirklands
Black Floral and Blue Fabric & Canvas Boxes // HomeGoods
Hobnail Jars {holding pencils} // Joann’s
Chalkboard Jars {large} // HomeGoods
Chalkboard Jars {small} // Kirklands
Chalkboard // My own creation
Metal Basket // HomeGoods
Chair // My own, covered in Fabric from Joann’s
Inspire Letters // Joann’s and Hobby Lobby, painted by me.
Curtain // Created by me using part of an old Ikea curtain
Printable // Someone is Happy  … at Somewhat Simple
Bulletin Board Frame // Marshalls
Instagram Prints // Social Prints Studio

Here are a few detailed photos of the finished project:

nookI hope you enjoy the space and are inspired to create your own bit of pretty within your own home.

New Year — New Goals

I prefer to call them goals and not resolutions. Resolutions seems so predictable and are often {OK, almost always} broken. I’m also trying to come up with my word of the year. I was torn between two but starting this post gave me the clarity that I needed to settle on one. The two I love  are ‘breathe’ and ‘focus’. I love them both but I have chosen breathe as my 2014 word. I might have to repeat it to myself a million times but hopefully I can get it to stick.  Both apply to my main goal of being more present and less stressed. If I can remind myself to just breathe in stressful situations then the focus comes. Or so I have been reminded by some of my super smart Facebook friends ;)

I’m playing over at Pinterest {and this is where focus or the lack of comes into play} and I found this great list of goals. I think it’s a great way to assess goals and by writing typing them out, I can maybe be a bit more accountable. I love this quote that I found on Pinterest. Little things are much more achievable and can still make us feel like we succeeded.

Focus

I also found this list over at Run Lucas Run. I think we will wrap up our Winter Break tomorrow as a family by having a yummy dinner and then we can each fill out these lists. There are actually two lists to download, one is for grownups and the other for kids. The kids version is so much more simple. Lucky kids.

2014I’m getting a jump start on mine to share with you.

A BAD HABIT I’M GOING TO BREAK: Getting so worked up about things that really aren’t worth it.
A NEW SKILL I’D LIKE TO LEARN: Canning 
A PERSON I HOPE TO BE MORE LIKE: This is a loaded question, there are so many people that inspire me.
A GOOD DEED I’M GOING TO DO: Dedicate more time to Hands 4 Hope
A PLACE I’D LIKE TO VISIT: The Oregon/Washington Coast.
A BOOK I’D LIKE TO READ: Fly Away by Kristen Hannah
A LETTER I’M GOING TO WRITE: Be more consistent in the letters I write to my boys.
A NEW FOOD I’D LIKE TO TRY: Eggplant — it kinda freaks me out.
I’M GOING TO BE BETTER AT: Using my time wisely/Gardening more/Being patient/Exercising and eating better  for my mental and physical health {not aiming for perfection but being better}/spending less and saving more/blog more

There you have it. My 2014 goals. Do you set goals or resolutions? I’d love to hear them and how you stick to them as well.

Cheers to a New Year. I hope 2014 is a good one for you!