Happy Fall

So it begins. Today is the first official day of Autumn {and my most favorite season ever}. Truth be told, I yanked out the Fall decor right after Labor Day. Soon I will switch it out for Halloween and then we are back to Fall til the Christmas decor makes an appearance. This time of year is full of things that I love. The colors, the weather, the clothes, the food. I mean seriously people, I could go on and on {and on and on}. I’ve made my obsession with Fall pretty clear over the years because I get random emails and texts from friends, “Thinking of you as I burn my pumpkin spice candle”. Yes, really. I get messages like that –  a lot –  around this time of year.

fallleavesEvery year I pull out my seasonal decor and I take some away and I add some. Styles change as does my taste. My most current obsession is gold. I love gold and well, it seems to be trending cause it’s everywhere. I recently bought a very cute gold pumpkin at Steinmart {click to be redirected to the item}. I also stumbled upon this amazing isle over at Target yesterday. Gold galore.

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Some of my favorite things this fall {click on item to be redirected}:

Boyfriend flannel//Old Navy
Pumpkin door mat//Target
Gold leaf pumpkin//Stein-mart
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread//Two Peas and Their Pod {My new go to recipe for pumpkin bread}
Apple Hill//High Hill Ranch {for awesome vendors, pies, apple milkshakes, The Fudge Factory}//Ables {for the best caramel apples}//Appleridge Farms {for kids}//Rainbow Orchards {made fresh as you order donuts}

Happy Fall ya’all ;)

This is 40

Sorry folks, I am just now getting to finish this post. Life has been a little busy :)

I have been hash-tagging This is 40 all week. Kind of obnoxious maybe but it’s kinda true. OK on July 31st it became real. I am a 40 year old mama/wife/friend/sister/etc. I admit it, at first the idea was FREAKING ME OUT. Think about it, if I live till 80 (“if”) then I am 1/2 way through my life. Super silly logic but that is how I have been processing this whole ’40′ milestone.

Fast f0rward to the minute July 31st rolled around. I was just finishing cleaning my floors in an empty house. The hubby was working and the boys were at my dad’s cause I had a girls night that lasted till 11. Then I received a sweet text from my sis in law, Sydney at exactly midnight. I finally crawled into bed around 12:30 {I am such a productive night owl}. The next day we went to Camp Richardson and enjoyed the day sitting at the beach and wrapped it up with dinner and of course some Rum Runners at The Beacon. I love Tahoe so that was my idea of a perfect birthday.

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Now fast forward to the weekend. I had house guests. My sister, Carly and my brother, Michael and his wife, Sydney and my cute nephew, Maverick. Plus one of my oldest and dearest friends, Jenn was in town. She was staying at her parents nearby. So I hosted a pizza and salad night and had a houseful of people I adore. Bliss. I did however know that there was something else in the works. My husband and one of my besties {Hi Stacie!} were in cahoots for awhile planning something. Stacie is an excellent event coordinator and well, turns out Steve did pretty good himself. I knew the date and that was all I was supposed to know. Little hints kept getting dropped and people were definitely acting kinda weird cause they didn’t want to spoil the surprise. Then I started feeling like I was going to let everyone else down if I didn’t react the right way. I shared this with my husband {in an, “I’m freaking out” kind of way} the night before. He then offered to spill the beans which I didn’t want either. Especially that late in the game. I just didn’t like the pressure I was feeling. Like a circus monkey perhaps? I don’t know. Bad analogy. Ha ha!!

So Steve took me to dinner at Ella. I had a couple of cocktails cause at this point I was feeling a bit nervous. Afterwards he drove me around in circles to get lost. My eyes were closed. I had no intentions of cheating. Little did he know the circles were not necessary cause I was buzzed, singing to music and totally not paying attention to where we were going. So after he attempted to trick me, we pulled up to the venue. He led me out of the car {I am pretty sure he almost ran me into a wall} and up a walk way and then into a building where I was allowed to open my eyes. Then everyone yelled “surprise” {which it kinda was} and I looked around to see the faces of so many people who mean the world to me.  I tried to give hugs but it was like a game of tug or war. So I gave some hugs, saw one of my oldest and dearest friends  {what can I say, I believe in forever friendships} that I haven’t seen in 5 years , hugged her and we cried together. Then I was pulled to the center of the room {oh the venue was Reunion Night Club} where there was a version of Happy played on a giant screen. But this version of Happy had some of my friends, family, coworkers, Starbucks Baristas {yes, I frequent Starbucks THAT MUCH} and my chiropractor. It was one of the sweetest, sentimental, thoughtful, wonderful things I had ever seen. I laughed so hard. It was well thought out and just an amazing gesture of love. My sister from So Ca and I watched it over and over and over and over for several days afterwards. I’d love to share it here but it would get taken down due to piracy issues. I mean, Pharrel is still singing so we only inserted some fun dancers along side his words. After the video I was pulled to the back of the room to view the awesome decor. All kinds of old photos spanning my whole life. My friend Stacie had this amazing canvas {see collage below} made for me which tells a little about the things I love. Of course my favorite deserts were there for the Happy Birthday song and making a wish. It was really an amazing, lovely and unforgettable evening spent with many {but not all .. some were notably missed} people. I am grateful every day for this life and the people in it. As I finally wrap up this blog I am officially almost 8 weeks in to this 40 thing and guess what, it ain’t so bad!

collageBe grateful today and everyday.

 

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

Cookies

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!