July 31, 2015

Blog Friends Become Real Life Friends

Yes...it is a wonderful day when your very dear friend, who you met through your respective blogs...visits you with her beautiful family. When they drive such a long distance just to spend one night with you and your family. When you meet her husband and two sweet daughters for the first time...because you met her last November and this time she brought her family...and you felt as if you have known them forever. That is wonderful.

Tara, who blogs here about all things home and family and takes beautifully amazing photographs, and her family visited us this week. We had so much fun in the short time they were here, and immediately knew that we would all indeed be friends for life. We sat on the porch and visited, we cooked dinner together in my kitchen, we watched our children play, we drove to Dairy Queen...we just sat on the couch and talked. And it was wonderful. I am thankful for the gift of our friendship, and for this world of Blogger that brought two women together who otherwise would have lived parallel lives, never realizing the other existed.

Here is a peek at our time together. Watch Tara's blog for more. Her photos tell so much more of the story in a much more beautiful way! : )

The exact moment our babies finally met...and it was as precious as it looks. : )

After we sat on the porch together, Tara and I did what we have always dreamed of doing...cooking together! And this lady makes a delicious fruit salad!

We all sat outside while these two jumped into the pool over and over again...

and were inseparable after that. : )

After jammies and ice cream, they did this...while the rest of us...including Tara's beautiful older daughter Anna...sat on the couch and talked. And talked. And talked.

The morning brought a pancake breakfast and hugs good bye...

for now.

And then they were off...on the next leg of their family summer adventure. But not before we promised to meet halfway sometime soon, because when you are blessed enough to meet a family that makes your family so incredibly happy, you want to erase the miles separating you as often as you can.

Thank you, Tara and family!

July 27, 2015

Christmas In July 2015

We celebrated Christmas in July on Saturday. And the kids loved it. Here is how we spent our day...pretending it was a cozy December afternoon instead of a hot one in July. : )

The kids awoke to a few small presents each...

then we baked sugar cookies. And it was fun, because we never do sugar cut-outs at Christmas. Just everything else. : )

We had a nice treat in the afternoon of cookies, tea, and milk...

and finished off the night after Mass and dinner with my very favorite...ever.

And because we love holidays so...we continued the celebration on Sunday...

because that's just how we roll. : )

Soon enough, the real thing will be here! : )

July 23, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

Today, I'm thinking about...

Saturday. Because it is Christmas in July!!!! And yes...we celebrate Christmas in July. Because...why not? Why not celebrate the most magical time of the year in the middle of the most fun time of the year? We don't go all crazy with decorations or anything, but a little bit of effort creates a lifetime of memories. We will watch a few favorite Christmas movies, bake some Christmas sugar cookies, and unwrap a few small gifts. And of course, the Christmas music will be playing all day long. Told you I love holidays. : ) In the meantime, here is a quick look back at our  quiet, summer week...

We ate summer meals...
(Just add burgers!)

with gifted garden veggies from my super talented niece Maria. : )
This was zucchini lasagna and a fresh garden salad.

We had coffee...and milk...and tea...on the porch...

and took summery pictures before Mass...

(And if you think you have seen this dress on her before, you have. It is her very favorite and I got it from Gymboree. This is her third summer wearing it!!!!)

We watched scary summer storms from inside...

then ventured outside to enjoy the beauty left behind.

We took a walk everyday...

and jumped through the sprinkler at night.
(Note to self...have hubby scrub the side porch.)

And we had ice cream cones outside. Just like my mom used to make. : )

Have a wonderful weekend!
Thanks for visiting. : )

July 22, 2015

July 20, 2015

And That's Quite Alright

We don't spend our summer days at the pool. We don't spend our summer evenings at the ball field.
We do our own thing. And that's quite alright. If there's something I have learned over my almost nineteen blessed years of mothering, it's that it is alright to do your own thing. Do your own thing and what makes you and your family happy.

What makes you happy may not always be the norm. It may not always be what everyone else is doing. And that's alright. I didn't always feel so confident in that fact. Turning forty a few years ago, however,  allowed me the freedom to stop worrying. To stop worrying about pleasing others and find comfort in the fact that by doing what we enjoy, our family may be different, but not wrong.

If I could be so bold as to offer a piece of advice to the younger moms out there, it would be this...
Do what you want. Live YOUR life. Find joy in the things that make you happy. Respect the fact that others may have different interests and hobbies. Refrain from judging others on the basis of your differences. Don't compare yourself or your parenting to anyone else. No one knows your family better than you.

If you ever find yourself feeling pressured or inadequate or uncertain, remember this. No one knows your heart or your family...your strengths or your challenges...your interests and your dreams more than you. No one else knows what makes your family happy. You may do things differently...you may not be the norm. And you know what. That is honestly quite alright. : )

July 16, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

Today I am thinking about...

...slowing time. Seriously. I am quite uncertain how it was May yesterday and now we are on the brink of August. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE this time of year...autumn is close enough to taste...back to school is closer and closer...but I am finding that these days are passing way too quickly. I know that there is no way to stop the passage of these fleeting summer days. I know that. So, I am making a vow to do the next best thing. If time won't slow down, I will. I will make a conscious effort to slow down every single day. I will challenge myself...and this is a big one for me...to live IN the moment. To sit still and watch my kids ride bikes. To sit on the porch and just be. I will stop the planning and racing and organizing in my mind. I will use the month of August to soak in all that I can of warm days and long nights. Of littles eating ice cream cones and staying up late. Of family meals grilled outside and afternoons spent watching movies. Join me won't you? Let's slow down. And just be. : )

Here is what we have been up to the past week here in our little corner of the world...

We went to a wedding on Saturday.

And here's me smiling because we were all ready on time!

We ate yummy pie on the porch...and this little guy was all about having some too!

Have you tried the Blackberry Lemonade at Wendy's?
You should.
You're welcome. : )

That's all.

We have been enjoying watching old game shows on GSN.
It is so fun!
We are loving Card Sharks and The $25,000 Pyramid. : )

New wallpaper in the laundry room.
Made me happy!

We had grilled summer meals...

and Peyton's perfect brownies too.

My little lady worked hard outside...

and then came in and had a warm bath followed by my very favorite smelling Baby Magic Lotion and fresh jammies and nighttime milk.
Ahhhhh. Childhood.

Happy Summer Weekend, friends!

July 14, 2015

When Life Gives You Farm Fresh Vegetables...

...make pasta! Last week, a friend of ours dropped off some fresh veggies from the garden. And I knew exactly what I was going to do first!!!

Aren't they pretty?
I washed them. I sliced them. And I threw them in a pan with some olive oil.
( I used squash, zucchini, peppers, and baby tomatoes.)
I had no fresh herbs, but dried Italian works just fine.
So I added that.
Meanwhile, I boiled some pasta.
Whatever I had on hand worked well.
Then I drained that pretty pasta...
and added it to those yummy veggies. I sprinkled it with fresh parmesan cheese.
And life was good.
When one is serving fresh summer veggie pasta, one must also have fresh Mixed Berry Pie, don't you think?
Me too. ; )
This pie is super simple...4 cups of berries...I used strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries....mixed with 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup corn starch, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Let that sit for half an hour. Bake in your favorite crust for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.
Happy Summer Eating, my friends!!!!