Thursday, July 16, 2015

July 2015 Favorites!

A little break from our vacation recap...

Happy July!  I love everything about July... the heat/humidity of summer, 4th of July, fireworks, vacations, long days, warm nights, Shark Week, days lounging by the pool, wet hair/no makeup, etc. 

As you can probably tell, I'm slowly figuring out web design one step at a time (aka - one google at a time, a lot of experimenting and some mild cursing).  I just recently figured out how to do pages, so all of my past monthly favorites are now linked at the top of the page.

Onto my faves from this month...

1 - Erin Condren Life Planner

I know - I can't stop talking about it!  It's my new BFF.  I posted some pics to Instagram and promised further information and pictures, so here's the scoop (and then I promise to stop raving about it... for now!).

I first started hearing about Erin Condren life planners a few years ago, but I didn't really start looking into them until earlier this year.  My special education team at work is all obsessed with our planners, so they appreciated my new infatuation and flamed the fire!

The fun/stressful part of the life planner is the design process since you have to make so many decisions - custom cover vs ready to ship, personalized stickers vs standard, vertical vs horizontal layout, etc.  It took me a few months to commit, but now that it's here, I'm so happy with how it turned out and can't wait to use it to help keep me organized during the school year and with personal commitments, appointments and LIFE!

I mean, it even arrives in a super cute box...

My favorite accessory is the personalized stickers - I designed stickers for appointments, Georgia daycare events, NO SCHOOL, meetings, etc. (you pick the color and wording).

It also came with some other sample stickers and lots of color strips that you can write on to further personalize your calendar.  I also added in the snap-in meal planner, which can be used weekly and then wiped off and used again (and there's a shopping list on the back).

I may need to start my Christmas shopping.  I can become the Oprah of the life planner world - YOU get a planner and YOU get a planner.  You ALL get planners!!!!!

2 - Blackberries 

Last weekend, we headed back to our favorite farm for a little blackberry picking.  We weren't sure what to do with all the blackberries we picked, so Nick started googling and came up with the amazing idea to make cordial!  Homemade liquor?!?  YES please!

Next thing I knew, every pot and pan in our kitchen was out, as well as all the frozen berries from our previous farm trips this summer.  Nick ran to the store to buy some cheesecloth and got down to boiling berries!

Not quite sure about the taste yet... we're going to give it a few weeks bottled in the fridge before we have ourselves a little private tasting or before inviting the neighbors over to try it!
3 - Neighborhood movie night

We are loving the new movie nights that have been sponsored by a local church group that wants to become more involved in our neighborhood/community.  It's been fun packing up the chairs/blanket and hanging out with the neighbors while watching some kid-friendly flicks on Saturday evenings...

Georgia checking out "Toy Story 3"

4 - Homemade salsa

We've been picking tomatoes and jalapeno peppers like crazy this week, so I hunted down a salsa recipe and whipped it up this weekend using our own home grown ingredients.  I also threw in some scallions and salsa peppers since I had some growing in our deck containers.

Tell me this is not a Kardashian tomato?!?!?

We ate the salsa with tacos one evening and I put a giant scoop into my eggs the following mornings and it was DELISH!

5 - Krave Beef Jerky

I've never been a huge fan of beef jerky, but I was looking for a snack that wasn't just carbs or fruit and had a decent dose of protein.  I am absolutely addicted to these little packets - they're the perfect size to throw in my purse when I want a snack on the go and they are ridiculously tasty!  My favorite flavor (black cherry bbq) isn't even pictured because I may have eaten it all before I remembered to snap a pic - Oooops.

6 - Starbuck's new instant iced coffee

When we were packing for the lake last week, we realized that we wouldn't be using our typical k-cup coffee pods in the morning since there wouldn't be a Keurig available where we were staying.  I grabbed a box of this instant coffee in Target and made myself an iced coffee each morning when we were at the lake.  It was easy to make - just mix with water and serve over ice.  I mixed in a little creamer and I was good to go!  It's very sweet, but that's how I like my coffee (I also found the caramel version when we got back from the lake and bought that to try next!).

Back to New York (and then onto Canada) coming up next week...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Final Lake Day...

On our to-do list for our final day at the lake.... TUBING!! 

Georgia had never been tubing before, so we weren't sure what to expect, but she loved it.

After letting the kids all have a turn on the tube, the adults wanted some crazy action time on the tubes, so we dropped off the kids to play with grandparents while we headed back out onto the water.

Georgia swimming with Grandma

Our tubing trip was interrupted by a rescue mission.  A few people had taken out the sailboat and got stuck across the lake when the wind died.  So, instead of going fast, we took the role of tow truck and slowly pulled the sailboat back to our side of the lake.

After lunch, we spent some time exploring the small creek that runs along the side of the property.  The kids had a blast building a dam and playing around in the shaded area.

Georgia & Abby playing in the creek

Nick constructed a small "fairy" boat for the girls and they set it free in the creek...

After playing in the creek, we headed back up to the Suites to get ready for our final night... a luau party at the new house!   We packed special outfits for the party.

Proudly wearing our floral patterns!

After dinner, we waited for dusk so we could pull out the lanterns and fireworks.  Fairly certain the adult "kids" were more excited than the little kids!

Georgia was more interested in making a s'more with Grandpa (yes, we pack Georgia-safe chocolate when we travel!)...

My final shot of the night is quite entertaining.  Georgia was OBSESSED with the hot tub.  She had so many questions about it and kept referring to it as "Uncle Malon's bath tub."  She's still talking about it a week later!  Her favorite part was that the water constantly changes color - that's huge news in Georgia's world!

And with that, our time at the lake came to a close.  We headed back to pack up all of our stuff so we could take off in the morning and head to our next destination... Canada!

Monday, July 13, 2015

4th of July 2015... Lake Edition!

A few notes before I launch into recapping our 4th of July up at the lake:

1 - You may notice a few blog design changes over the next few weeks.  I've been working to organize over 850 posts (yes, I've blogged THAT many times over the past few years).  You'll notice at the top of the page that there is now a "TRAVEL" link.  If you click there, you can see specific posts from our various adventures all organized by location.  Hopefully soon, I will be adding a "FOOD ALLERGIES" link, "NICU", etc.  It's time-consuming and I have to play around a bit every time to get everything lined up how I like it, but it's coming along.

2 - I posted a picture on Instagram of my new Erin Condren life planner and got a ton of questions and feedback about it.  

I'm going to do a longer post on it next week, but for now, if anyone is interested in ordering, please feel free to use my referral link so that I can get a few dollars credit to all the fun stuff on their website (because now that I have this planner, I want MORE, MORE, MORE!!).  So, if you order anything, please use:

Onto the holiday...

We totally and utterly lucked out with the weather at the lake this year.  Just days before we left, the weather forecasts were looking bleak... like very bleak.  I kept wondering what we were going to do to entertain Georgia if it rained for days on end.  Instead, we got picture perfect weather for 99% of the week!  We woke up to another beautiful morning, so we got dressed in our red/white/blue best and prepped for the day by decorating the property in hundreds of small American flags.  Georgia held onto that flag and waved it proudly all day long!

Tops the dino was psyched for the day too...

We started off our day with a little sailing adventure on the lake, but it was a tad too breezy to have the kids on the boat, so we returned to shore while Nick took out Uncle Nick for a speedy little ride...

We came ashore just in time for lunch!

Hanging out with Grandpa

Lunch with Great-Grandma Rosalie

Still eating and checking out Asha's necklaces

Hula-hooping (and looking patriotic) with Abby

After lunch, we all grabbed blankets and chairs and walked up the street to watch the annual Branchport parade...

Ready for the parade

Small town parades are just awesome and the Branchport parade never disappoints.  There's something so Americana about waving to tractors and boy scouts!  Georgia and crew quickly figured out that LOTS of candy would be thrown to them if they stood up and waved to the passing cars, politicians and fire trucks...

Top L - Waving at the tractors
Top R - Proudly waving the flag with Auntie Sherrie and Abby (whose face got waved away by a flag!)
Bottom L - Abby & G watching the parade with Grandpa
Bottom R - CANDY!!!!!

Seriously, my kid was a crazy candy lunatic once she figured out that this stuff was just free and being thrown at her!

Too bad poor G can't eat most of the stuff (damn you, food allergies, for ruining the fun again!), but we were able to share and Mommy may have eaten 3,089 tootsie rolls already!

After the parade, we somehow convinced Georgia to take a nap for almost 3 hours.  Woot woot!  We knew a late nap would be essential in order for her to make the grand finale... fireworks!

First step... sparklers by the lake:

Then... Daddy launches some fireworks:

Followed by... a thousand glow sticks:

Last step... firework!

Georgia loved every minute of the fireworks display.  Another bonus to small town country living is that we were basically sitting directly under the show!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lake Livin' - Day 2

We woke up on Friday morning to beautiful blue sky and cool country air.  Our new friend, Tops, immediately knew how he wanted to spend the day... on the water!

While Nick prepped the sailboat, Georgia showed her Boston pride (always a risk while vacationing in the state of NY!)...

My boat crew...

Unfortunately, the winds weren't quite with us, so we decided to take the boat in and say good morning to Great-Grandma Rosalie (who we spotted reading on the deck)...

 Georgia also got a chance to ring the bell on the deck...

The rest of the afternoon was all about speed in the motor boat.  Not surprisingly, Georgia loved going fast. 

The kids had fun on both land and sea.  No matter how many toys you pack, it's always the random item that becomes the big hit.  With this crew, it was attempting to pull each other in a tube... on land!

Audrey, Georgia and Alex playing tug-o-war with a tube

Georgia and Abby playing in the tube

We ended the day with a sunset cruise in one motor boat as Uncle Ken took a spin on the water skis in another boat.  While the guys prepped the boats, I snapped my fave pic of the day.  Just waiting patiently to get the okay to head to the boat...

Georgia, Abby and Bennett