Friday, June 28, 2013


Is it just me, or has it taken forever for Friday to get here!?!  It must be because next week is the 4th and I just can't wait!!!  But before we get to the 4th I thought I would share some of my loves of this past week....

{1} Hydrangeas

I used to have a black-thumb.  For years it seemed that whatever I planted in our yard would meet an untimely death.  Not that I want to jinx myself by saying I now have a green-thumb but I would say that I am improving.  And I am most proud of my hydrangeas this summer!

{2} My Hair Stylist

Words can not describe how much I love my hair stylist!  Not only does she listen before she cuts but she can also tame my crazy curly hair.  Any girl with curly hair below the Mason-Dixon line knows that a stylist that "understands" curly hair is worth their weight in gold!!!

{3}  Dinner Alfresco

I am simply loving dinners outside on our deck. The other night after dinner the kiddos literally ran around the house while Hubby and I had a chance to chat alone.  Heaven!!!

If you would like you can take a tour here.

{4}  New Reads

How sweet was Hubby to order Mary Kay Andrew's new book for me!?!  I have loved all of Mary Kay Andrew's previous books so I am sure I will love this one too!  I promise to give y'all a review as soon as I finish...

{5} The Queen

I use sunscreen all year long but I do tend to reapply more when we are at the pool and the beach.  All of that sunscreen is great at blocking the sun's harmful rays but it also blocks my pores.  Which brings me to the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque.  This drugstore find is the best at taking off all the sunscreen that soap and water can't get.  It is a summer "must" in my book!!!

Thanks so much to A. Liz AdventuresThe Good Life BlogHello! Happiness and Carolina Charm for hosting this week's link party!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Brave Boy

I am not sure that I have mentioned it but L has some severe seasonal allergies in addition to his food allergies.  Spring and Summer can be a truly brutal time for my little guy.  As soon as the trees start blooming he becomes miserable!

Since I can't keep my sweet boy in a bubble it was decided that we are going to start allergy shots for L.  Since allergy shots are individually based on each person's specific allergies and their severity, L had to go through a scratch test today.

I was just so proud of how brave L was as he was "scratched" 30 times this afternoon.  L simply held my hand and we counted down from 30.  Not a single tear which made it all the more harder for me not to cry.  

Having allergies does not just mean carrying an Epi-Pen and giving Benadryl each day to L (and B).  It also means yearly blood tests and painful scratch tests just to manage the allergies.  At times I feel like the meanest mother taking them to these "torture" appointments.  But at the same time I can't just ignore their allergy issues and not take them to the doctor.

God willing all of L's discomfort will be worth it next Spring when we hope his allergy shots will make it easier for him to handle all the NoVa's Spring pollen.  And his sweet smile after some chocolate ice-cream sure did make me feel better!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake

The weatherman claims that the high for today will be 90 and very humid.  A normal summer day here in NoVa.  What is not normal are two crazy boys.  Can you believe these two asked for hot coco this morning!?!

What's worse is that I actually said yes!!!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Home Repair - Part 2

We are continuing to make progress on our front-door repairs.  The new door was installed and our contractors set out to make us a decorative top for our door that meets the HOA requirements and didn't leak.  I can't tell you how giddy I was that they could meet both goals!!!

I loved how they made a point to use some of the old decorative pieces that were still usable. Many comments that drew me to this contractor were that they did not tell you to "buy-buy-buy".  Personally I like that they looked at this project as a puzzle and they fit new and old pieces together.

I think it is safe to say that our neighbors are overjoyed that our door is finally "pretty" and no longer an eyesore in the neighborhood.  All I need is a day without rain or the threat of rain!  I simply want to paint the trim but Mother Nature is not working with me at all!!!

In the meantime I am driving Hubby crazy with all of my paint samples for our two front rooms.  Benjamin Moore's "Bradstreet Beige" (top) and "Carlisle Cream" seemed great in the store but once on our walls I was no longer sure.  I am thinking I should try "Stone Hearth", "Indian River" and "Pashmina".  Thoughts?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Deck

After some major work this past weekend out deck is finally ready for summer.  And I for one could not be more happy!!!  Hubby and the kiddos really used some major elbow-grease to clean and prep the deck for staining.  I think it B had a grand time with the hose.  Some people might have gotten wetter than the deck!

So now that the deck is all ship-shape, I thought I would give you a little tour....

We use the deck for family dining and a nice spot for Hubby and I to watch the kiddos play in the yard.  It is so sweet to see them running around the yard after dinner and giggling together!

I added a few more colorful potted plants to brighten up the space.  I simply love colorful spaces!

After a long weekend of working on the home I feel so blessed to have a lovely outdoor spot to sit with Hubby and enjoy a nice summer Sunday night.

You can also find me at Savvy Southern StyleNo Minimalist HereFrom My Front Porch

Friday, June 21, 2013


I have to admit that I thought blogging during the summer would be so much easier without all of the school year rushing.  Boy was I wrong!  While we have been busy and getting things done each day is different.  No real structure is making hard to blog and read all of your blogs.  So once again I am indebted to April of A. Liz Adventure!  How sweet is she to have a link-up that is a list!?!

{1} Pool Time

An afternoon at the pool is summer time perfection to me!  Normally we have gotten things checked off our to-do during the morning and then we hit the pool.  The kiddos see this as a reward so they are happy to run all about town on whatever errands I say must be done as long as I promise to take them to the pool when we are done.  They have such a great time swimming together and seeing friends.  All three kiddos wear themselves out at the pool.  Which means they all sleep-in the next morning!!!

{2} Retail Therapy

I am just in love with the J. Crew pineapple tee.  To me, the pineapple is such an East Coast symbol of hospitality.  And the best part is that it is on sale!!!

Linen golden pineapple tee

{3}  Free Movies

One of our local movie theater hosts free movies two times during the week in the summer months.  This is such a fun outing since we always run into friends on a rainy day.  And my paper-bag trick is still working for us!

{4} Red Solo Cup

Have you seen that Paper Source is selling reusable Solo cups!?!  These cups always put a smile on my face because they remind me of my college years at Providence College.  And while the song is cheesy I still like it :)

{5} Homemade Ice Cream

We made our first batch of homemade ice-cream last night.  I cannot tell you how much all five of us are looking forward to eating it tonight.  If I am feeling like a super nice mom, I might even get us some hot fudge to make sundaes.

Here's to the weekend friends!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cheers To Blueberries

I am not sure about your local markets but the ones in NoVa are just filled with fresh fruit.  Watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe and a ton of blueberries have all been on our plates.  While we have been enjoying the fresh fruit "in the raw", I decided to try a drink recipe that I had seen last year on the Cape.  It was so yummy there was no way that I could not share!

Blueberry Smash (adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 lemons, sliced into rounds
2 limes, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/ cup fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 cups vodka
1 cup St-Germain

Place the lemons, limes, blueberries and mint leaves in a pitcher.  Coarsely mash - I found a whisk worked well for this job.  Stir in vodka, St-Germain and 2 cups ice cubes.

Divide drink among glasses; add ice to each glass.  Finally top each glass with a healthy splash of club soda.

Enjoy friends!!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

So Not Preppy!

Our cul-de-sac has many beloved traditions such as Friday night cocktail hour, a progressive Christmas party and fireworks on the 4th of July just to name a few.  Then there is another tradition that is loved by all but me - Mohawk Night!

All of the older boys look forward to this night like you would not believe.  Me, not so much.  It goes against everything preppy and what I hold dear!!!

But I can't say no to M each summer when he asks if he can get one.  I really could not this summer after all the hard work M put in at school.  As he sat down to get his mohawk, Hubby kindly reminded me that it would only last two weeks top.  M's hair grows super fast and he will need a proper hair cut before the 4th.

It might not be the hair style I wish for M but how can I not just love that smile!?!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Home Repairs - Part 1

It would be the understatement of the year to say that I am far from pleased with the builder of our house!  During Hurricane Sandy we sprung a couple of leaks and the biggest one was around the front door.  After dealing with our insurance company and waiting for several contractors to submit binds we finally started work on the front door a couple of months ago.

What we all thought was going to be a quick fix was anything but that!  Almost as soon as our contractor started taking down the trim work above our door we knew things were not done right the first time.  Nails under the door's top decorative piece had caused cracks which were letting rain in behind the siding.  The top decorative piece was not put on correctly which basically caused water to pool behind the piece and have nowhere to go.

The water damage was unreal!  There was nothing that could be done but to order a new front door.  But unfortunately the new door took a long time to come in.  I can only image what the neighbors thought of our "work-in-progress"!

I am happy to report that our new front door came in and was installed this week.  It was an all-day job but that don't bother M and L.  My two boys sat and watched the whole thing from beginning to end.  I hope that the contractors, who were great all the way around, were not put off by all the questions my boys asked.  What is it with little boys and power tools!?! 

Nothing like have a gaping hole in the front of your house!  But I honestly did not care about all the flies that got into the house, I was just overjoyed that someone knew what they were doing and did it right the first time!!!

By the end of the day we had the new door that we needed! The guys did such a great job we had them do a few other much more minor projects as well. Even though they were smaller projects I think they will make a big impact in our living and dining rooms. I can't wait to show you the end results!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Who Knew You Could Bake With Knob Creek!?!

I hope all the dads in your life had a wonderful Father's Day!  I think it is safe to say Hubby had a perfectly relaxing day.  Sleeping in, time at the pool and grilled fish for dinner.  On top of all that I baked Hubby a dessert that I thought would speak to him - Whiskey Pie with Tipsy Berries.  I found the recipe in Southern Living's June issue this past Saturday when I finally had a free moment.  

The only tweak I made was to the Tipsy Berries.  I only used blueberries and strawberries since they are Hubby's favorite.  I simply increased the amount that I used and it turned out just fine is you ask me.  While baking is a science sauces can be played with to meet your needs. (Hubby's note- Any recipe that can take something healthy like fruit and corrupt it with bourbon is OK in my book. This pie was very good and an excellent Father's Day surprise.)  Do you ever ignore the recipe too?

You can also find me at Savvy Southern Style and No Minimalist Here

Friday, June 14, 2013


How sweet was April of A. Liz Adventures to kindly host a link party!?!  It was as if she knew I was totally stressed this week and need a simple post.  One of the many reasons why I love the blog world -someone is always there to help-out even if they have no idea they are!!!
{1} Big Hats and Big Sunglasses

I came to terms with the fact that I would never tan years and years ago!  But last year I decided that I needed to use more than just sunscreen to protect my skin.  Big hat and big sunglasses will be my go to this summer at the pool and the Cape!!!

{2} English Muffins, Turkeyburgers and Old Bay

Turkey burgers on toasted english muffins is just the best dinner for summer if you ask me.  And to make it even better, Hubby sprinkled Old Bay on our burgers.  Awesome!

{3} Pen and Paper

I know that this makes me old fashioned but I still use a paper planner and I would never have it any other way.  If I take pencil to paper and write-out our week I remember more.  Maybe it is crazy "mom-brain"!  No matter what it works and I am going to order my next planner this week.

{4} Magazine Reads

I just adore Southern Living and Cooking Light but I have no any free time to really read them let alone figure out what new recipes I wanted to try.  I cannot tell you how happy I am that things have slowed down.  Now I might be able to read and try a new recipe or two!

{5} Give-A-Way

My first ever blogger give-a-way was so near and dear to my heart.  Last week I had a give-a-way for my friend and author, Mary Litton.  Beth S is the winner but I have not been able to get in touch with her due to Google+.  I really hope she sees! Anyone have any suggestions for getting in touch with a "non-reply?"

I hope y'all have a great Friday and a perfect weekend!!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Cocktail

Our "fixed" AC is broken again.  We had bad thunder storms this morning followed by more this afternoon.  And to top it all off in the middle of the storm we learned that their was a tornado warning.  So I sure you would not be surprised to learn that I am fixing up a cocktail for Hubby and myself this evening.

I am going to go with a yummy classic in my book - the gimlet.  Cold gin and lime juice is simply perfect on a hot and muggy summer night in my book!

Classic Gimlet

4 oz gin
2 oz simple syrup
2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker.  Add a bunch a ice and shake until cold.  Strain into two chilled martini glasses. Enjoy! (Hubby's note- These are outstanding, I HIGHLY recommend you try them. Plus you will be fighting scurvy at the same time so it's a win-win!)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Share, Share It's Only Fair

Through the wonderful world of blogging you have all learned that I love to read and I have learned that many of you share the same joy.  So when I heard of a website that tells you about great deals on books for eReaders I thought of you my friends!  It is called BookBub and it can save you money - sounds like a winner to me!!!

BookBub is a free daily email that notifies you about deep discounts on acclaimed ebooks. You choose the types you'd like to get notified about -- with categories ranging from mysteries, cookbooks, chic lit to young adult  -- and they send great deals in those genres to your inbox.  It works with Kindles, iPads, Nooks and more.

Now that we are at the start of our summer break I can't tell you how happy I am to start my summer reading list!  On the cheap is even better!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

School Art

Now that we are on summer break I have begun to sort through all of the kiddos' art work that made its way home this school year.  I love all of their beautiful creations but I have to be honest for years I just packed the year's worth of art into tupperware boxes.  The boxes filled with art work made their way to the basement storage area - never to see the light of day again. What a waste!!!

This year I thought I would try something new.  During the school year I only saved art that "spoke" to me or was very meaningful to my children.  By the last day of school we had a pretty good pile.  While I would loved to have framed the art in its original state that would have cost me a small fortune and I would have run out of wall space in no time!

So I did the unthinkable - I cut my children's works of art!  Cutting the pieces into smaller sizes made it possible for me to frame them in simple frames from the dollar store.  I used the mattes that came with the frames as a template, trace and cut.  Pieces of art work that were 12 x 16 and bigger easily were cut to fit into smaller frames.

In no time at all I had a pretty gallery of my children's beautiful works!  Now all I have to do is decide if I want to keep the group together and hang them on the wall going down to the basement.  Or I could break the group up and hang the art work in each kiddo's room.  What do you think?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pit Stop!

B's last field hockey tournament was close to home this weekend so we all got to go.  While hubby and I were beyond excited to sit side by side and watch B play, I am not sure the boys shared our sentiment.  In all fairness, what young boy would like to give up a day at the pool to watch his big sister play a game they don't understand?  I don't think that they even really saw their sister's three goals.  That said I am happy to report that the boys were good as gold and B's team took first place by winning all four of their games!

So we felt the best way to reward first place, three goals and well behaved brothers was a stop at a roadside creamier.  And I have to say that all five of us were more than happy we stopped!  Home-made ice cream made from farm fresh cream - really does it get better than that??!!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Cookie Baking 101

You might have already guessed this but I love to bake for others.  I just love how a freshly baked treat can put such a big smile on someone's face.  So I am sure that you would not be surprised to hear that I baked for all of the kiddos' teachers for their end of year gift. 

 I went old-school and baked chocolate chip cookies and I have a couple of "tricks" that I thought I would share.  First off I think that all cookies bake better if they have a couple of hours in the fridge to chill.  (Warm or even room temperature cookie dough never turns out well for me.)  I find that it works best for me if I make the dough the night before I plan to bake and deliver the cookies.

My next "trick" is my tools.  I always use a traditional jelly-roll pan not a cookie sheet.  My jelly-rolls are commercial-grade which means that they will not warp in my hot oven.  I also always line my pans with parchment paper and I always use an old-school ice cream scoop to form my cookies.  All three of these tools help ensure that my cookies all bake evenly and consistently.  

The final step is packing up my sweet treats.  When I am baking for many people I like to give the cookies in packages of six. Since they are relatively even in shape and size I find stacking them is the prettiest presentation. Simply stack, place in a cellophane bag and tie it closed!

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