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?

Rosemary-Flatbread-with-Arugula-and-Parmesan-Gourmande-in-the-Kitchen-2

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!

 

 

 

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!

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

39 Things at 39 Years

I’m a thinker. Often times I am an over thinker. That can be good … and it can be bad. In this case, I think it’s good? ;) I am doing this little post about 39 things about me at 39 years. Yep. Lucky you. So here is the down low in bits and pieces. I also thought I’d include a silly family photo taken last week at Ocean Cove. Our final camping trip for 2013.

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1. I feel deeply.
2. I react quickly — this could be any range of emotions. Happy, sad, mad, etc.
3. I over-analyze. I’m taking baby-steps to overcome this. It’s not easy.
4. I believe that everyone should be able to live as their true-selves without judgment. As long as it does not hurt others.
5. I love music and I am often dancing and singing in my car. Unless you pull up to me at a stoplight then I suddenly become still and quiet.
6. Organizing is an instant stress reliever for me.
7. I wish I exercised more but I don’t make it a priority. My exercises of choice are yoga and walking.
8. I follow the rule, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”.
9. I find inspiration in others. We all possess super powers of some kind.
10. I love photographs yet I haven’t taken the time to truly learn photography.
11. I tend to freak out and then settle down once I get it out {some of my girlfriends are oh so lucky to be my sounding boards. To those of you, and you know who you are, I apologize for this and I also thank you from the bottom of my heart}.
12. Target is sometimes my version of therapy. So is HomeGoods and Marshalls.
13. Girlfriends are my religion.
14. I do not go to church. Religion is not a part of my world but my values match those of my friends that do attend church.
15. I have two rescue dogs, a cat that was found on a rock as a itty bitty baby by my dad and lots of fish that keep having to be replaced. I believe in rescuing animals. There are so many abandoned animals waiting for a forever home.
16. I love Lake Tahoe. Just sitting by the lake soothes my soul.
17. I love the ocean. The vastness of it scares me a bit but I love sitting on the shore and listening to the waves.
18. I love to bake. Trying out new recipes and hearing, “This is amazing” makes me happy.
19. I’m crafty. I make things.
20. I just tried sushi 3 years ago and I love it but I’d rather not know ‘exactly’ what it is that I am eating.
21. Fall is hands down my most favorite season of the year. I CAN NOT GET ENOUGH OF THIS SEASON yet it goes by much too quickly.
22. I feel like we live in a very noisy world. Technology, social media, smart phones — we have so much at our fingertips and true time outs are few and far between.
23. The above makes me worry about raising my kids in a world that is so different then how I grew up.
24. I love my boys. Hubby included. They are the center of my world
25. I think snow creates the most peaceful landscape. The world somehow feels quieter when blanketed in snow.
26. Instagram is awesome. Period. I’m at #thelocalhoney if you’d like to follow me.
27. My favorite food is Mexican. Or appetizers. I {heart} appetizers and could easily make a meal out of them.
28. I cherish my old friendships but I savor the new ones as well. I believe people come into our lives for a reason.
29. I am a complete chicken. A few of the things that terrify me the most: driving along the edge of a cliff without guard rails, roller-coaster rides and jumping off rocks into lakes. Yes, really. I am quite content at amusement parks IF I don’t have to ride anything that has drops in it.
30. Evening walks with my 10 year old make me happy. Especially because he still wants to hang with his mama.
31. The best humor comes from those who don’t try. Like my 8 year old. He says the funniest things.
32. I adore pedicures. Perfectly polished piggies make me feel ‘pulled together’.
33. I am way too addicted to my iPhone.
34. And my laptop.
35. I’m ‘running’ a 1/2 Marathon in October and I don’t run nor have I trained. I’m a bit annoyed with myself for signing up.
36. I am not competitive AT ALL. I think board games are all in fun. Aren’t we all winners? ;)
37. My two favorite songs at the moment are Blurred Lines and Brave.
38. I’m a social girl but I also really enjoy my alone time which is hard to come by. I take it when I can get it!
39. I am grateful for those of you who read my blog. I love writing and sharing with all of you.

There you go — 39 little things about me. Happy Thursday friends. Friday is only a day away!

Hangtown Cooler

This easy little cocktail comes courtesy of one of the most beautiful wineries in our area. It’s called Boeger and it’s nestled up in Camino, which is also the home of Apple Hill. More about Apple Hill here. We try and make a trip to Boeger for their Sunset Sipping at least once a year. It’s a Friday night event which entails good friends, wine, a yummy picnic and a band. It’s always a full house and if you so desire, a family affair. I tried this drink there a few years ago and I’ve been making it ever since. It requires two ingredients: Boeger Hangtown Red and Squirt. Yep, that’s it! It’s a crowd pleaser and reminds me of sangria {without all the work}.

You need this which you can get at the winery or I picked mine up at Trader Joes {which is also where the fun photo below comes from and then I altered it using the fabulous new Rhonna Designs Photo App  and Pixlr {these photos apps are very addicting!!}

Hangtown cooler

I also found all of these other recipes on their website. I think I see some recipe sampling happening soon!

Cheers to summer and fun cocktails.

Summer Cocktails

It’s summertime and that means — yep, cocktails!! Not that you can’t have cocktails in the other seasons but there is something so refreshing about cocktails in the summertime. I love seeing how a slew of ingredients bring about something so yummy and delicious. I keep putting this post off assuming that I will pull it together and make/share a couple of my favorites and add pictures as well but … but … but .. you get the point. It’s not happening! The last time I had my two favorite concoctions was while camping and I just didn’t think to get photos. I will share the recipes with you though. You can just imagine how pretty they are in a glass with a cute lil straw.

Root-beer Float

My version doesn’t really entail any ice-cream but it tastes like a root-beer float. Anyone that has tried them is instantly hooked. First off, I am in love with these skinny glasses from Cost Plus. I have actually bought them for my girlfriends as they are a hot ticket around here. Add a straw and they are perfect for a pretty cocktail.

I add one shot of Whipped Vodka to a full glass of ice and then top with root beer. Voila. A simple and super tasty cocktail. Some people like to add whipped cream to the top. I think they are plenty sweet without.

Orange Julius with Whipped Vodka

These seem to be made a million different ways but this is how we make them. Now these are a main attraction while camping so they are served in non other then a Red Solo cup. I know, classy!

In a shaker combine: ice, 2 oz Whipped Cream Vodka, 1 oz Triple Sec, fill with OJ and then a squirt of canned whipping cream. Shake well and serve. This will serve two.

Both of these go down a little too easily so beware how quickly you feel the results if you know what I am saying.

I made this yummy sangria for the 4th of July. Again, I did not get a photo before it was all gone. What I loved the most is that it called for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which is the type of wine I always drink. It sold me on the recipe.

Summer Sangria at The Sassy Writer

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Of course have a Pinterest Board which is dedicated to Entertaining and that is where I save these little gems for later. Check out some of the yummy things I hope to make soon. All recipes can be accessed by clicking on the drink title and source above the photos.

Mexican Sangria at Design Sponge

Mexican Sangria

Sour Cherry Gin Slings at Food & Wine

Sour Cherry Gin Slings

Cherry Moon at Grey Goose

recipe-cherrynoir-cherry-moon-feature

Frozen Cherry Margarita at Girlfriend Getaways

Girls-Night-In-Drinks-Frozen-Cherry-Margarita

Gin & Tonic {one of my faves} at Drizzle and Dip

gin and tonic

Cayman Lemonade at Islands

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The Frenchy Cocktail at Intoxicology

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Marshmallow Cake-tini Cocktail at Tablespoon

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These look like tantalizing cocktails. I’d love to hear if you have tried any of these and what you think. Oh my last round up does not come with a photo {although I had two last weekend and I can tell you that they were delicious} is a drink called the Va Va Voom and it was at a local spot called Sauced. It had vodka, muddled mint and lime, simple syrup and hard cider and was served on the rocks. It tasted like a carbonated lemonade. It was so yummy {and it may have caused excessive dancing, just sayin’}.

Come on over and check out my million and one other pins at Pinterest :) Just kidding, I only have 7, 257  pins.

Cheers to Summer my friends {even though I long for Fall}.

Super Bowl Yummies

Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner and for us Northern California folks, it’s a big one! I don’t watch much sports but I am a wee bit excited that the Niners made it. I love the energy that comes about when local teams make it to the play offs, etc. It’s a happy contagious kinda energy. Plus I enjoy the parties that bring people together and provide endless amounts of food and drink ;) I’m pretty simple like that!

That being said there will be a lot of Super Bowl parties. Whether you are hosting or heading to a party, here are a few appetizers that look too good to pass up.

Appetizer collage

1} Baked Fontina by Smells Like Home

2} Meatball Stuffed Biscuits by Recipe by Photo

3} Mini Mexican Pizzas by Dashing Dish

4} Baked Chicken Taquitos at Chef in Training

Of course I must share some sweet treats as well.

Desert collage

1} Loaded Cookie bars by Pip and Ebby

2} Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Balls at Baby Gizmo

3} Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites by Two Tiny Kitchens

4} Cookie Dough Millionaire Bars at Bake or Break

 

All of the above recipes came from my Foodie Love Board over at Pinterest {yes, I do pretty much rule my world through Pinterest these days. Don’t we all? ;)} I do however have a few favorite recipe sites that I visit quite often and I wanted to share those sites for you as reference. You know, just in case you ever feel like looking at amazing recipes and drooling all over your keyboard. Or meal planning, they are also good for that! I adore Picky Palate, Smitten Kitchen, Food Network, All Recipes and of course a constant source of inspiration for just about everything is Better Homes and Gardens.

Whatcha doing for Superbowl? Do you have any special treats that you make for this big sporting event?

 

Our Garage Entry

If your house is at all like mine then you have kid paraphernalia everywhere. I’m constantly on a mission for the perfect system to keep my kids from throwing their stuff all over the ground. I have found socks in so many odd places including stuffed in-between the couch cushions, in the magazine rack in my bathroom and under my bed. I don’t know what it is but socks {dirty ones mind you} show up everywhere. Well, now that I go on and on about socks I realize my latest storage solution will do nothing to remedy the sock debacle BUT it does help with getting backpacks and jackets hung up upon coming home from school. We have a coat rack by the front door but we usually enter from the garage so this just makes more sense.

This simple DIY involved a 1 x 6 board cut down to fit my wall and then we {by ‘we’ I mean my husband} attached 6 coat hooks which I picked up at Target. I found the idea here. I like her use of bronze hooks but I had silver so it made sense to use what I had. Resourceful eh? I also stumbled upon this super cute burlap weaved cork board over at Jones Design Co and because I ‘had to’ make one, I also ‘had to’ find a space for it. This worked out perfectly. I also had an old cork board and the burlap on hand. Because it’s not in a space that I utilize for my daily must do’s, it will really just be a fun space filler. I’ll just hang up  photos, some quotes, maybe a hand made flower or two, etc.

I think this whole project cost about $20 and that it has already been so useful.

Garage entry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, if anyone has any tips about the dirty sock situation, I’d love to hear it ;)