Summer Lovin’!

Had us a blaaaast!

Summer Break has officially started for us! Woo hoo! We are fully immersed in it now!

Last week was very busy for us. We went with my in-laws to a small, little theme park for the day.

wpid-20140521_090556.jpg

Boy was it hot! The boys (and us adults!) had a great time. By the end of the day, the boys started melting down…and playing ALL over the floor of the picture pick-up place. We became THAT family. :/

wpid-20140521_133700.jpg

wpid-20140521_133643.jpg

Oh well. At least they were occupied. It was a great day! We had so much fun with Grandma and Grandpa. The next day was Bigs’ last day of preschool for the 3 year olds. It was a great day for him. He had so much fun and I know he will miss his friends and teacher.

That same evening was his little graduation. After five minutes of singing their sweet songs (“Wherever I go, God goes” and “Doers of the Word” – stinkin’ CUTE!!!), it was over. He’ll officially be in VPK next year. Sniff. Growing up too fast, I tell you!

On Friday, we had a playdate with most of his classmates. We went to a Splash Pad. It was a very hot day, so the Splash Pad was a welcome treat. Bigs had SO much fun with his friends, splashing all around. Smalls, on the other hand, did not enjoy it at all. He was scared. I’m sure he’ll enjoy it more as he gets older. Afterwards, we took all the kids to a frozen yogurt place. Oh yum! I got no-sugar added for the boys, since it was close to nap time.

wpid-collage_20140524153247829_20140524153310904.jpg

I let the boys have sprinkles (duh). I had a mix of a lot of flavors and some fruit and juice-balls as toppings. It was refreshing. What a great way to end the year!

That night, we took the boys to a steakhouse to celebrate Bigs’ graduation.

wpid-20140523_175140.jpg

The boys got cheeseburgers and fries (their favorites).

wpid-20140523_175640.jpg

My meal came with a delicious salad. It was so good. I love when restaurants make their ranch dressing in House.

wpid-20140523_180249.jpg

My Medium steak was perfect, and my loaded baked potato was filling.

wpid-20140523_180245.jpg

My husband’s burger (which he ate without the bun) was just delicious.

We celebrated with dessert:

wpid-20140523_182227.jpg

A trio of chocolate cake, apple crisp, and cheesecake. Yummo.

What a great way to celebrate my baby going into his next phase of life.

On Saturday, my husband put up a hammock in our backyard. We also grilled out and I made some sides.

wpid-20140524_115950.jpg

I made the world’s easiest baked beans.

Baked Beans:

1 1/4 C chopped onion

3/4 C green bell pepper (I had red, yellow, and orange)

2 cloves of garlic (chopped)

1 C ketchup

1/4 C brown sugar

1/4 C maple syrup

2 T Worcestershire sauce

2 t liquid smoke

2 t mustard

1 can – red beans, drained and rinsed

1 can – Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed

Sautee the veggies in the butter. Once they are soft, add the other ingredients up to the beans. Mix well. Add beans and simmer for 15 minutes.

DELICIOUS!

wpid-20140524_133453.jpg

For a fun dessert, I made banana ice cream. The day before, I’d peeled and sliced 3 or 4 bananas, and then froze them. To make the ice cream, place the frozen bananas in the food processor and add milk (I used vanilla almond milk) and process until creamy.

wpid-20140524_133614.jpg

It was a hit and the only sugar that was in it was from the almond milk. Fantastic.

wpid-20140524_125923.jpg

It was a fun day filled with homemade (healthy!) ice cream, good food, and pool time!

On Sunday, we went to a pool/birthday party! I didn’t get any pictures because Husband had to work and I was wrangling the boys by myself. We had so much fun though. They stayed in the pool for about four hours! They only came out to eat delicious hamburgers and hot dogs, and a cake made to look like the American flag! So fun!

On Monday, I’d heard that Wendy’s was giving out free Waffle Cone Frosties. Yes please!

wpid-20140526_161247.jpg

I let my boys have frosties for dinner. Sue me. I should be sued. It turned into an awful night because they were so ridiculously hyped up. But it was fun at the time.

wpid-20140526_161408.jpg

(PS I’ve been jogging almost everyday with my boys – it’s been great!)

wpid-20140526_161926.jpg

I love how Smalls eats his ice cream cones…like there’s no tomorrow. That’s how he does life too. All in, this kid! ❤

My Bigs is a bit more careful. 🙂

wpid-20140526_162201.jpg

He likes to savor his special treats…so much so that it starts melting all over the place! I can appreciate his method though. He’s my sweet, special boy!

The crazy, wild, me-pulling-my-own-hair-out night was worth it for these special memories. I will never forget the one time when my family went to Washington DC on a vacation when I was in elementary school. My parents let us eat ice cream for dinner and we went to a candy shop for dessert. It only happened once in my life, but it was so fun and so special that I remember it so many years later. I want those special, fun memories for my own children.

I’ve made a lot of great food lately, too! More successes than failures this week – woo-hoo!

Today, my bestie since kindergarten came over with her daughter. I just love love love seeing them. I miss my best friend. We’ve lived apart (grew up in the same town) most of our adult life, but every time we get together, it’s like the last time we saw each other. And we talk every day too. She’s so special. Anyways, I made a salad today, for us, that I knew she’d love. And I loved it too! A friend from my church group gave me the recipe and I altered it a little, but only because I didn’t have all the ingredients.

wpid-20140527_111945.jpg

Seven Layer Salad:

Romaine lettuce

Red onion

Frozen peas

Dressing (mayo, mustard, S&P, sugar, malt vinegar)

Bacon

Celery

Cheddar Cheese

**I added red/yellow/orange bell pepper, added onion powder to the dressing since I didn’t have onions, and I also used red wine vinegar since I couldn’t find malt at Target**

This recipe is delicious! I can’t wait to try it the “real” way.

wpid-20140527_112311.jpg

We ate the whole thing (I used an entire head of romaine lettuce)!

Speaking of salads, they are still going strong in our house – the produce has been great!

wpid-20140519_181837.jpg

wpid-20140520_111607.jpg

I also made a delicious dinner tonight – roasted chicken and roasties:

wpid-img_20140527_181442.jpg

It came out delicious.

wpid-20140527_174227.jpg

I served it with seasoned corn, nectarines, and raspberries.

wpid-20140527_174233.jpg

Bigs loved the potatoes (which he normally doesn’t) and Smalls ate almost the entire pot of corn (which he’s never done). Serious success!

I also made GF brownies for my husband. I had to eat a square though, for review purposes.

Obviously.

wpid-collage_20140527181858802_20140527181912513.jpg

I used Aldi’s GF brownie mix. I used coconut oil for the fat content, so they came out with a ridiculously yummy coco-nutty flavor. I enjoyed my little slice and my Hubs loved it too!

YAY for successful meals! It doesn’t always happen!

So glad to be back on track with blogging. I miss it when things get too busy.

Hope you all are doing well! More summer fun and recipes tomorrow!

Kristin

A Berry Good Day

Today has been a berry, berry good day! Yesterday’s gloomy, overcasty clouds burned off to reveal a blue-skied, clear, gorgeous day. It was a perfect backdrop for strawberry picking. We started our day with our usual Saturday Pancakes.

Pancakes Bacon and Sausage

This time, I added little sausages with our bacon, and brûléed bananas.

Pancake Breakfast

After our hearty breakfast, we were off! The strawberry fields were about a half hour away and we got there just as they opened.

20140308_090650

The boys were SO excited! To them, it must have looked like miles upon miles of strawberries! Bigs did a great job of picking the plump, ruby red, ripe berries. Smalls did a great job of eating any berry he could find, whether it be from the ground (half-eaten by some vermin or squashed by an unknown stranger shoe) or plucked from the plant itself.

Smalls Eating

Just about every time I turned around, Smalls was stuffing a berry into his mouth. His little baby hands were stained red within minutes. When I picked him up to give him a snuggle, his little breath and skin smelled so sweet of ripe, juicy berries. I just held him forever, burying my face in his curly hair and neck, inhaling his sweetness. And he let me, instead of squirming away. It was magical. I could have breathed in his scent forever.

Smalls and Strawberries

The boys had a wonderful time. It was great to show Bigs food-sourcing. He couldn’t wait to get home, wash these sweeties, and eat them – the ones HE picked! Snack-time was wonderful – a bowl of freshly picked berries!

20140308_091212

20140308_091007

20140308_090415

20140308_090903

20140308_093025

I love this one of Husband, Bigs, and Smalls, in succession ❤

collage_20140308151642649_20140308151706493

It was such a happy morning, with the blue, clear skies, the sweet smell of berries in the air, and surrounded by my three, very special boys. My heart is so full!

20140308_130438

Our bounty, washed and drying

20140308_130316

Beautiful, ruby red jewels

From the strawberry field, we went to a Farmer’s Market. We walked around, munching on kettle corn (it’s always best made right in front of you!).

collage_20140308152905873_20140308153006687

Each boy got their own little bag. Smalls dumped his out on accident.

20140308_102257

We smelled the produce and plants for sale (this one was a spectacular chocolate mint plant!!).

20140308_102910

We watched an Amtrak train pull into the station and take off again. We sat there gawking at it like tourists. It was great. Smalls talked about for the rest of the day, in his own little 19 month old way, “Choo choo?? Wooo wooooooo!!”, “Choo choo!!!!”. Those boys love their trains.

And, we also walked through the rows and rows of gorgeous flowers for sale. These are the most lovely hydrangeas. I love hydrangeas.

20140308_102508

Spring has most certainly sprung around these parts – a fresh promise of growth and renewal, and a reminder of life’s beautiful, cyclical nature.

It was indeed a gorgeous and perfect morning for our little family! We ended our day (after all the non-event middle day stuff) with frozen yogurt.

Froyo

The boys are now tucked into bed, I am not far behind. I love when I am pooped from doing things that made me happy.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

I am so blessed by these three boys! They give me the hope for a new day and they fill my heart with love. My cup truly runneth over.

Have a very blessed night, yourself,

Kristin