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.

 

Tender-Beef-Kabobs-Shashlik-Recipe

 

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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Source unknown

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

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.

Fall Entertaining

Sometimes I just want to jump into a magazine that features the perfect tablescape. Tonight I was inspired by this amazing photo on Joss & Main.

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I love this table over at Bird’s Party. The sprinkles of gold confetti are a fun addition to an already whimsical table.

thanksgiving-fall-tablescape-ideasClassy in the City shared this simple yet inviting table for 4.

Fall2 I love this photo on LampsPlus page. I think the whole property just works for that rustic feel that I adore.

Fall3I love how Sew Fine a Seam incorporated some blue into her table. I love adding blue into my holiday color scheme. Light blue, robins egg blue, soft aqua. It’s a soothing color and adds a fun pop to any decor.

fall-tablescape-3-620x1014The Happier Homemaker kept it simple with whites and a burst of green. I love the addition of the initial as a table marker {I have a slight obsession with initials}.

autumn-tablescapeSo there you have it, a few of my favorite fall tablescapes although I have a confession, I grew up spending holidays with my dad, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. so we all ended up eating wherever we found a seat and this involved paper plates and plastic utensils but guess what? It was the best and even though we didn’t have fancy place settings, there wasn’t a lack of blessings and things to be thankful for. Still, I do love pretty table.

 

What We Teach Our Children.

I am on the verge of teenage-hood in  my house.  My oldest is 10 going on 13. The little one is 8. They keep me on my toes. The 10 year old is working on his delivery. By this I mean he thinks everything is funny but I don’t always agree. So we are constantly discussing what is and isn’t appropriate. It exhausts me. He loves to chime in on adult conversations and he also has super good ears. So he hears everything. This. Is. Challenging. I have to give him the freedom to express himself and hold conversations with grown ups but I also need to teach him what conversations are appropriate for him to be a part of. So these are really small life lessons I am working on everyday. He is a good kid but they are all learning, right? Everything is a life lesson in my opinion.

I know that academics are important but for me, I’d really rather my child grow up being kind because that will get you far in life! Building relationships, engaging and caring about others. These are imperative life skills. Yes, good academics will help you as well but it’s all of the other things in life that will help you along even more. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be humble. Be aware. Be mindful. Be playful. Most of all, be an example of who your child should and could be. Be hopeful that you help shape them into compassionate do-gooders that will inspire others. Help shape them so that they will put good energy into a sometimes messy world.

Kids

Photo source unknown

I’ll leave you with this poem was on the web today. For the article that goes with it, click here.

We read it in the papers and hear on the air; 
Of killing and stealing and crime everywhere. 
We sigh and we say as we notice the trend, 
this young generation…where will it end?

But can we be sure that it’s their fault alone?
These kids who do things that we don’t condone;
Who was it shaping their first twenty years?
And who made the world they enjoy with their peers? 

Are we less guilty, who place in their way.
Too many things that lead them astray?
Too many credit cards, too much idle time;
Too many movies of passion and crime. 

Too many books not fit to be read,
Too many damaging things they hear said.
Too many children encouraged to roam,
Too many parents who won’t stay at home. 

Kids don’t make the movies, they don’t write the books.
They don’t make the video games with gangsters and crooks.
They don’t make the liquor, they don’t run the bars,
They don’t change the laws, they don’t make the cars. 

They don’t make the drugs, that muddle the brain;
That’s all done by older folks…eager for gain.
Those self-absorbed teens, oh how we condemn,
The flaws of our nation and blame it on them. 

But rather than fixing blame, let’s fix the cause,
Let’s look in the mirror and conclude as we pause;
That in so many cases — it’s sad but it’s true –
The title “Delinquent” fits older folks too. 

There is a great article that goes along with this. Please visit Tim Elmore’s site at http://growingleaders.com/blog/kids-products-world-created/

Little Pieces of Fall

I know, I go on and on and on about how I heart Fall. I even have a hashtag for it on Instagram. #iheartfall. For real. I’m literally sitting here eating apple crisp while apple coffee cake bakes in the oven. At 10pm. #issues. I know I am not alone so I’ve compiled some of my favorite Fall things to share here with you. Your welcome and happy Fall ya’ll.

Fall collage 1

Felt leaves at 5 Orange Potatoes

Chai Pumpkin Spice Thumbprints at Pass the Sushi

Sweater Pumpkin at Confessions of a Plate Addict

Heart Shaped Leaves at The Berry

Fall Collage 2Cider Spiced Donut Holes at Honeybear Lane

Free Fall printable at I Should Be Mopping the Floor

Spicy Pumpkin Soup at A Spicy Perspective

Chevron Wreath at Crafty Texas Girls

Last year I shared all of these yummy pumpkin recipes and these free printables. Is Fall your favorite season or are you all about the hot summer days?