Ok, where did the week go? It was just June 15 wasn't it? Wow, this summer break is going to fly by!
Wait, I know where the week went - it was spent at multiple pools through out Sunny So Cal. Lots of swim practice for the Minis and lots of lounging in the shade for me. (Between driving to said pools that is.) The other theme of the week was finishing up the year in piano. Our piano teacher gives lessons during the school year ending with a recital and Guild auditions in June. What a monumental feat that is, preparing to play in front of a judge. I applaud the amount of work in practice needed to be ready for Guild but honestly, there were times I wanted to throw in the towel on behalf of the girls. Nagging an eleven year old to practice two times a day does not a happy mamma make. We made it however and both girls had successful auditions - phew!
In spite of the busyness I am so grateful for time with my girls. Here is my little things list (warning, too many photos ahead), you'll notice our theme yells out loud and clear...
Piano recital, thank you to my wonderful mom for joining us, learning to dive at
Mimi's (aka Grandma's - my mom), hang time with the girls, enjoying a cool breeze & the garden of our piano teacher's home (I LOVE her brick wall), smoothies for breakfast, a few different pools,
Friday, awww. Does anyone else feel it? I'm ready for some family time and grateful the hubs is home and doesn't have duty over the weekend.
One of my daily blog reads is Lindsay over at Hello Hue. She is a talented artist, honest writer and a Navy wife to boot! She just moved across the ocean and over our "lower 48" and I appreciate her sincerity with how tough these moves can be. (Girl, I feel you!!) She is (re)starting up a linky party called "It's the Little Things". Finding the little things in life that are a blessing, a gift from God, tucked in our week. Such an important thing, to concentrate on the small things in our weeks that make us smile. For me it's the little things that help me deal with the big things (that aren't always fun).
Top two, pulling out my Great Grandmother's Bible for some quiet time in the word.
Bottom two, a successful birthday party (maybe that isn't so little?)
seeing my girls back in the water after too long.
What are your little things?
One not so little thing? Wishing my love and all the fathers out there a happy Father's Day! What a huge blessing it is to raise children along side a Godly man. Thank you honey for all you do for our family, we thank God for you.
The last day of school has come and gone - we are a full week down in our summer fun. It's been a little crazy still because both girls will be playing a piano Guild audition next week. Ugh, lots and lots of piano practice = lots and lots of nagging from me. Oh well, it will be worth it in the end. (Right??)
I like to do a last day of school photo by the front door as well as the first day. It's fun to see how much they have grown and changed over the school year. The oldest is 5'4" now, she really needs to slow down! She only has 2 inches to catch me - yikes!
Next year, 6th and 4th grades, nooooo!!!
Not only are we totally engrossed in piano we are in full party mode for this girl...
I love this time of year! School is winding down and summer is upon us. This year, more then ever, my kids need a break and I can't wait to spend more time with them.
A couple of years ago I was searching for something fun to mark the end of a great school year. Being a new blog reader I searched and searched and somewhere I stumbled upon a great idea (link to something similar here) - last day of school t-shirts. How fun! We even made a line for their teacher to sign. There are some really fun ideas to celebrate the end of the school year in blogland, not sure what we'll do this year, better get on it!
All you need is an inexpensive t-shirt from the craft store and iron on transfers
which come with their own online template. Easy peasy.
A fun shirt for the last day of school and a keepsake all in one.
Now, if we could only go back to second grade and kinder!! Miss those sweet days.
We woke this morning to rain. Rain?! At first I thought I was hearing things. Figured in my tired brain that it was normal since I was in the North West - but wait I'm in sunny So Cal. What a nice surprise!
We're having friends over for a very casual dinner tonight so why not soup? I'm in! In my cupboard I found a few cans of pumpkin puree, reasoned if we could have a cool rain in May I could eat pumpkin soup in the spring. I pulled out a favorite and easy recipe from Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Veggie Meals (to buy go here) and just a few short moments later, soup for us all. Link to recipe online found here.
Not sure if I can wait until our company shows!!
**Rachel's Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil (1 turn around the pan)
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) vegetable stock (or chicken if you're not a veggie)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 pinches cayenne pepper
Course salt to taste
Heat a deep pot over medium heat. Add oil and butter. When butter melts add onions and sauté about 5 minutes until tender. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and stir in cream, curry powder, cumin, cayenne and a few pinches of salt. Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve.
** Please note the above recipe is from the cookbook, the recipe found online has a few small differences.
Social media. Yikes. It can be such a blessing but boy, oh boy, can it ever be a curse. Recently I was witness to an online battle that, like a car wreck, I just couldn't turn away from. It's crazy to see how easily words typed can turn in to an attack. Would these same words be used if in person? I pray not! Then why, why, why, can we be so mean?
We hear a lot about school bullies that take their nastiness to the internet. We've seen the devastation it causes young people when others relentlessly spew hatred at them. (Just this morning I read about a 10 year old girl who took her own life. 10?!) It's so wrong.
It's also wrong for adults to do the same. In the Navy there is a way of doing things, it's called using the chain of command. If you have an issue work your way from the bottom to the top - go from one level to the next if nothing is done. Words hurt people. Words typed, for all the world to see, hurt people.
God's word holds true to the virtual tongue as much as the literal, does it not? Here is what I pray to hold to. Here is what I pray to teach my children.
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. Proverbs 21:23
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
And ultimately, learning from what I witnessed online:
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Protect them, oh God, and may they do no harm to others.
Thanks to Ina, the Barefoot Contessa, I have a go-to, can't miss, side dish. It's the perfect combination of easy seasoning with fresh veggies. Some recipes, from my favorite stars on my favorite network with food, can be hard to duplicate. This is not one of them. The ingredients are easy and straight forward and could already be sitting in your home.
I will include the recipe below but for the original and to read other reviews here is the link.
Ratings for this recipe are hard to ignore...
5 out of 5 stars. It's a winner!
Fresh and easy ingredients. (This was for a large Mother's Day crowd so I doubled the recipe.)
Ready to be tossed in olive oil & seasoned with salt & pepper.
Blanched & drained & ready for their ice water bath.
Almost forgot to snap a photo of the finished product!
It was time to eat & I was ready so this is after my first helping.
Ina's French String Beans
1 pound string beans, both ends removed (she calls for French string beans, I use whatever I can get my hands on like in my photo above of green beans - close enough?)
1 red onion, large diced (after roasting this is my favorite ingredient)
1/2 red bell pepper, large diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, large diced
2 TB good olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 4 minutes. Drain immediately and immerse in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
In a large bowl toss the onion and bell peppers together with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes, toss occasionally for even roasting of the veggies.
Just before serving, reheat the string beans in a large sauté pan drizzled with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and arrange on a platter. Spoon the roasted vegetables over the string beans and serve hot or at room temperature.
Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day to all my mil spouse peeps!
It can be a hard life but with grace and determination we forge ahead. Thank you to all who have been there for me as I walk this road, it's never one we walk alone is it? You have taught me patience, independence, and how to mow my own lawn, darn it. You have been the village to my children during long deployments, you have left cookies on my door step on those trying days. You laughed with me when I, out of shear exhaustion, put my 4 & 6 year olds to bed at 6:30 pm. Thank you, all of you for being there with me along the way. Thank you, all of you, for allowing me to do the same for you. I am stronger because of this community and I wouldn't trade it for a moment.
May God bless you all. May God keep your loved one safe, whether here at home or over seas.
I can't believe I'm about to do this!
This feels crazy to me, giving out the recipe for our family cake.
Sure, I've jotted it down on recipe cards for friends but this, this is going out there on a limb for me. It's so good though, I really should share.
What is the best way to post a recipe? Is it Pioneer Woman style, step by step pictures? Is it a simple recipe typed up with a picture of me scarfing down a piece of the beloved cake? Maybe it's something in the middle - I'll go with that. (Are you enjoying my internal dialogue? That is really what it sounds like in my head. Ha!)
It was Hubby's birthday Monday, meaning it was time to make the favorite cake. It's not from scratch but there are enough tweaks to make it better then boxed.
Better write up to follow at the end of the post.
This is my personal recipe card though, scribbled while talking with my
grandmother on the phone many years ago.
Four eggs, more then the normal box recipe.
That's a lot of oil, I didn't claim this would be health food!
Prepping the baking dish the old fashioned way, butter then flour.
Secret ingredient added - Lemon Pudding mix.
Water and cake mix added, beat for four minutes.
Once baked poke holes, I didn't have a tooth pick so I used a BBQ skewer,
not the prettiest way but I was out of time to run to the store.
Glazed with the powder sugar/fresh lemon juice icing. So good.
Again, not pretty to look at but trust me, you'll get past it.
Just one night later, yes those are crumbs everywhere, even on the mixer.
It's what happens when I leave the house for an evening meeting.
Grandma Elma's Lemon Cake
Yellow Cake Mix (preferably with pudding in the mix)
Lemon Flavored Pudding (this is where I vary from the original - Grandma uses a small Lemon Jello mix)
I used 3/4 of a large pudding mix box.
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
Mix all for 30 seconds then beat for 4 minutes, prepare baking dish and bake at 350 until golden and your tooth pick (or skewer) comes out clean. You can loosely follow the box directions for baking time.
Once done let rest for 5 minutes while you mix
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (don't skimp & use bottled, that would be just wrong)
If you could take a look at my beach towel stash and daughters swimsuit collection(s) you would notice a common theme - turquoise baby! When it comes to summer I can't get enough of any shade of that sweet blue/green combo that reminds me of crystal clear water.
Today while waisting time in Target (such a bad place for me to go with time to kill) I stumbled upon these plastic cups. Perfect for my summer time iced tea. I also found the shade of nail polish I've been searching for since spotting it on another blogger. Score! Now my toes are ready for the "May Grey" to burn off so we can hit the beach in style.