Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Preparing for a holiday ♥

How far in advance do you pack for a vacation? 

Saturday morning we are leaving for a week long summer vacation.  I'm super excited but I have to admit, whenever I travel I always experience a little anxiety.  Usually it's the mere fact that I'll be away from home, but this time I'm flying (on an airplane! eeek! ) which is something I haven't done in a very long time.  Just the thought of going to a crowded airport is keeping me up at night - let alone the packing.  Oh dear.  

Where do I begin? 

I will admit I usually bring too much on vacation.  I'm obsessed of having everything with me at all times.

This type of packing is much more doable on road trips.  I just load the car until we run out of room.  It's a little different when going on an airplane.  There is a charge per bag to check luggage on Delta.  Also the risk of losing a bag (gasp!).  

I'm resisting every urge I have to over pack and in turn, bring as little as possible.  

Danielle, the minimalist?  I'm not so sure.... ♥ 

* Starting to get my clothes together.  I'm only bringing outfits for four days.  I don't mind doing a load of laundry at the hotel. Something to do in between dips in the pool! 

 I can't forget my bathing suit, comfy pj's, and slippers.  

All the comforts of home ♥ 

Cutting down on what I bring means we won't have to check any luggage.  We each have one carry on.

Which means one less line to wait in! Yaaay!  That is motivating me to downsize.  

I have carefully packed my toiletries in little bags - all labeled so I can stay organized.  I downsized my makeup supply (which wasn't easy ) and have a bag for my camera, iPod, and charging cords.  

I'm not done yet, but it's a good start!

Tonight I am going to start on John's things, which surprisingly isn't that much.  Shorts, shirts, bathing suit, pj's, and "things for the plane" - his iPad, a sketchbook, and crayons.

Rob is packing is own bag. I have a feeling some of my things may spill over into his bag.  

Thanks honey! ♥ 

I'm going to use this cross body bag and small wallet (both are borrowed : ) 

 Luggage tags, hotel/airport paperwork, and a journal to record our days in.  I also have packed instant coffee for our room because I need my caffeine right away : ) 


Do you think we'll get this kind of service on the plane? 

Me either....sigh.  

Look at that spread! 

Since this is John's first time flying with his peanut allergy I'm bringing our own snacks for the plane just to be on the safe side.  I don't think he's going to miss the airline food.  

Something tells me it's not what it used to be : ) 

And I'm sure after the three hour journey we will emerge from the plane looking like this! Ta-da! 

If only I had that blue dress and hat ♥ 

Welcome to Florida! Fun in the sun! A week away from everyday life ~ 

We have been looking forward to this ♥ 

It's summer vacation time!!!  Once we get there, all my packing stress and anticipation will all be gone. 

Tonight I'm off to the salon to get my hair cut and then the only errand left will be a quick trip to the drug store for gum & snacks! 

Hoping to make magical memories next week!  I can't wait to share them with you!!! xoxo 

 Happy Summer! ♥

PS...all images are from the fabulous Pinterest (where else?).... 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Life in the slow lane ♥

Remember that scene in You've Got Mail when Meg Ryan's character Kathleen talks about how she questions living a "small life"?  She calls it "valuable, but small".  She wonders if it's because she likes it or if she simply hasn't been brave. 
I love that scene in the movie because I've asked myself that same question before.  Society has a way of making us feel that if we are living small then we aren't really living.  We are constantly being told that we have to win the race, when some of us just want to take the slow lane. 
I'm happy with life in the slow lane ♥
It's not to say that I don't have dreams.  I would love to sail on a slow boat to Europe one day.  I dream of seeing London and Paris and all the places that I've read about in books.  I would love to have tea at Harrods on a rainy day. I dream of what it's like to see the English countryside in the spring with all it's beautiful gardens. I dream of  seeing the lights of Paris atop the Eiffel tower and  walking the same halls as Marie Antoinette at Versailles.  To some these may seem cliché, but they are my dreams and I hold them close to my heart. 
I dream about a house on an ocean somewhere and watching the sunrise and set over the horizon. 
 I dream of the future.
But in real life I'm living my dreams in my (not-so) small life.  There is nothing that could ever compare with being a mom to my son.  His happiness is my happiness.  ♥  Watching him grow from a baby to an eight (almost 9!) year old boy in the blink of an eye is the most amazing thing.
He's smart and funny and every day I feel LUCKY to be his mom!

Having coffee with my hubby and watching TV on the couch.  It's small but oh, so nice.  Eighteen years later and it's just as cozy as it was on day one.  ♥
These are the things that make me happy. 
I'm grateful for my family and friends, and my health.  I ran into a former neighbor at the store today who made a point to tell me "live your life".  She lost her husband at 61 and in hindsight is very grateful for the things they did when they were young.  You just never know what the future will hold.  I took that as a sign. Be happy with your life the way you like it and do what you love to do.
I'm not saying a small life if good for everyone, just for me.  I encourage you all to dream big. 
My advice is do what it right for you, not what you think you should do. 
I love to read books about history, drink coffee with whip cream, watch old movies, and play Match Game with my family.  So that's what I do.  ♥
If the slow lane feels right, then by all means please join me in the slow lane. 
Life is good  ♥ 

(another gem from You've Got Mail)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Cinnamon roll cake ♥

Hello June ♥ Summer is in the air!

I'm starting to feel the excitement in the air that comes with early summer.  The school year is winding down for John and we are getting more and more excited for our summer vacation at the end of the month.

 Remember how I told you I hadn't bought a bathing suit in ten years? Well, I also haven't flown on an airplane in ten years either! I'm finding things have changed a lot since then.  What? I can't bring sunscreen in my carry on anymore? Gosh, I have so much to learn.  Yesterday I went shopping and stocked up on (clear) plastic, travel bottles for toiletries. They were labeled "carry on kit" so I think I'm on the right track. We shall see! Clearly I haven't vacationed in while, which is why I'm looking forward to this one so much. 

Homework and work seem to be the last things on peoples minds around here (at least they are the last things on my mind) as we ease into the new season.  We have fired up the grill, made corn on the cob, and the last two Saturdays we've had hot dogs for dinner.  Yup, It's Summertime!

This morning I put peonies on my nightstand because....why not? They don't last very long so why not take advantage as much as we can.  I have them all over the house ♥

The morning light in the bedroom has been bright and sunny. It makes getting out of bed in the morning a little easier.  I said a little easier....let's not get crazy ♥ 

And this..

Yes, so true! ♥♥♥

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen... 

A few weeks ago, my friend Shireen from Books and the Quiet Life very kindly sent me this book in the mail.  She had bought one for herself and loved it so much she gifted me with one.  All the recipes start with a box mix (which I loooove!) and most are meant to be made as bundt cakes. 

There are 101 cakes in here and I want to make every one.  It was tough to pick which one to start with, but I always seem to side with comfort food so I went with #51....the cinnamon roll cake!

It was every bit as good as it sounded! It has pudding in the mix which totally puts it over the top in my book~ 

If you love cinnamon as much as I do you must try this....♥ 

 1 box white cake mix
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups water
4 eggs
4 tablespoons cinnamon (divided)
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10 inch bundt pan. 

In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, puddings, oil, water, eggs, and 2 tablespoons cinnamon with an electric mixer.  Pour half of the batter into the prepared bundt pan. 

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons of cinnamon.  Sprinkle the mixture over the batter in the pan.  Pour remaining batter over the top. 

Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Let cake rest on the counter for 10 minutes.  Invert cake onto serving plate to finish cooling. 

For the glaze, the recipe calls for 3 cups powered sugar mixed with 3-4 tablespoons of milk.  I cut this in half because I thought 3 cups of powered sugar seemed like a lot.  It came out perfectly and was just enough. 

Mix the powered sugar and the milk with a whisk and drizzle over the top. 


This cake is so moist and cinnamon-y! It's delicious!

And the best part is that you can have it for breakfast or dessert...or both!

No judgments here : )

Thank you Shireen for this lovely book! You are a dear sweet friend!!! 

I can't wait to try another recipe! xo

By the way, I wanted you to know that  I found a bathing suit! I was so relieved to hear that many of you have the same dilemma as I do when it comes to bathing suit shopping!

Well, after ten years I got the courage to get back out there and I found one.  I got it at Khols (on sale!) last Saturday.  I didn't try it on until I got home and luckily it fit! Whew!

It has the retro feel that I love so much and I felt pretty comfortable in it. 
I'll be heading to Florida for vacation in a few weeks so I'm happy to check this off my to do list. 

 I kind of can't wait to wear it  ♥♥♥

Well, that's all for now.  It's time for more coffee and I'm off to work. 
I think we all should get summers off , don't you? 

Happy Days! xo 

Hello * Goodbye * Hello

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Elvis has left the building....♥

Last night John's school had it's second annual talent show. This show is 100% student driven.  

The kids make up their own acts, pick their own music, and provide their own costumes. 

It's so much fun to see the children's creativity shine in their performances!

John did two acts last night. 

He did his best Elvis impersonation to Heartbreak Hotel!

(I don't think the walls of St. Francis Xavier School have ever seen such a thing : )

 And then he and his best friend Jack did the Abbot & Costello "Who's on First?" skit.

They learned their lines word for word and rehearsed every day at recess for over a month. 

Their performance was perfect!

I was so proud of both of them!

There were over 50 kids in the show and each one shined like a star!

Seeing this made my WEEK and John has been bopping around the house singing since last night. 

A great way to end the school year! ♥

Doesn't this just put a smile on your face?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bathing suit dilemma ♥

Can I let you in on a little secret about me?

I haven't bought a new bathing suit in eight years!

Mostly because of the horror I endure shopping for one.

Every year I say I will get one.  I browse the stores.  I see something I kind of like. But when it comes time to actually try it on I run from the store screaming.

We are going to Florida next month and prepping for my trip I have accepted the fact that I don't think my haggard old suit can survive another summer. 

I've never really loved that suit.  I remember buying it in haste because it was the only one at that time that fit me.  This was right after John was born and I needed a bathing suit for a mommy/baby swimming class.  He loved it.  Me? What was I thinking?

So what do I do now? Shopping it is!

Here we go again....

I've never been a bathing suit person. I am that lady who always wears shorts and a t-shirt over her suit. Mostly because I have never found a bathing suit I've felt comfortable in.

 Not since I was six and I actually looked cute in one....:)

I love the vintage styles of the 1950's. 

The bottoms ride a bit lower on the legs and cover more upper thigh, which I for one really appreciate!

I also like the halter style tops. Most of them had a sweetheart neckline and are so darn cute I can't even stand it ♥

Is it possible for me to find one of these? Does this style still exist?

I am going bathing suit shopping today and I'm hoping to find a diamond in the rough! Something that I won't feel I have to cover with a t shirt.

My dream is that Liz Taylor will jump out from behind the racks and hand me a vintage baby pink suit with sparkles that's just my size. 

Wouldn't that be perfect....♥

...but I'll probably just end up running and screaming!

Wish me luck!

♥ p.s. all these gorgeous pictures are courtesy of Pinterest ♥

Monday, May 23, 2016

Chocolate dipped frozen bananas ♥

This was me this morning.  I got my first pedi of the season (picked a cute purple sparkly color) and out came all my sandals from last year. They had a heap of dust on them, but happy to find all are in great shape.  With the school year winding down (John could give you the exact number of days) I'm starting to feel the summer coming. The arrival of my toes is the first sign!
My lazy weekend was such a success (you have no idea! zzzzzz... ) that John and I never made chocolate dipped bananas.  We made a lemon cake instead which was just as good and a lovely end to the weekend. 
I did the bananas on my own this morning and surprised him after school today.  
They are nice and cool and totally reminded me of a summer treat ♥

Here's an idea for're gonna love this!
On Sunday I peeled 5 ripe bananas and put them in the freezer.  Have you ever frozen bananas?
 They are so delicious frozen!  You can blend them in a food processor and make ice cream, add them to smoothies, or dip them in chocolate which is what I did today. 
This is probably the easiest thing you will ever make ♥
Take two frozen bananas and cut them into bite sized chunks.
Take one cup of chocolate chips and two tablespoons of vegetable oil and melt in the microwave. 
I melted mine on defrost in 30 second intervals. 
Let the chocolate cool a little bit, for just a minute or two...
Now dip the banana pieces in the chocolate.  I dipped mine using  two forks. 
Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 
Put back in the freezer to set. 
 Once frozen, store in the freezer in a sealed bag or airtight container. 

When you need a little deliciousness, just pop one in your mouth.  Caution: They are addictive!
You can share these with your family, however it's perfectly acceptable to hide them in the back of the freezer.  Not that I've done that. 
You're Welcome ♥

this made me :)
Have a nice week, my friends! xo
Summer is coming! Yippee!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Lazy weekend...the best kind ♥

Welcome to Friday! I’ve been waiting for you since Sunday night!

I have nothing exciting planned this weekend.  Actually it will just be a very lazy, ordinary couple of days and to be truthful…those are my favorite kind

for you...

Lazy weekends are the best.  We can sleep in without waking to the sound of an annoying alarm clock, slowly sip our coffee (maybe on the deck if the weather cooperates) and not get dressed until we are darn good and ready.  I hate rushing in the morning and this past week has been extra rushy. John had to be at school early twice which completely threw me off, and one day I woke up a half hour late!
It was not pretty…and neither was I : )

this was not me...not even a little bit...

On the weekends we need not worry about those things.  I love it when Rob asks me “what are we doing this weekend?” and I get to say…”nothing”.  

Bliss! ♥

John does have one activity planned at the library Saturday afternoon.  He’s taking a pop up art class.  Every month the public library sponsors two art teachers to come in for an hour and a half to do art projects with the kids.  They focus on a different artist every time and do a project based on that artist. Oh, and it’s free! : )  Last month he did a still life based on Van Gogh.  This time they are making animation flip books. John loves it and so do I because I get to lose myself in the library for 90 minutes while he’s taking the class.  I’ll find a quite spot, curl up, and read.  

If only I could bring my slippers ♥

On Sunday we’ll go to church and then have the whole day to ourselves. If it’s nice I would like to go down to the beach for a few hours or maybe take a walk.  There will definitely be ice cream involved.  Oh, speaking of sweet treats there is something I want to make this weekend.  I saw these chocolate dipped frozen bananas on line the other day.  They look delicious and easy to make so I promised John we would try them.  

They look  yummy! 

(via pinterest)

I’m also starting to think about flowers for my flower boxes.  I’m getting the itch for planting but I didn’t want to do it too soon because it’s still been very cold at night.  It looks like my peonies are just getting ready to open so that’s a good sign that maybe it’s time!

she's almost ready to open....

Also, my friend Shireen recommended an old movie that she thought I might like.  I’m a lover of old movies and I’ve never seen Portrait of Jennie (1948) so I’m going to look for it at the library this weekend. It stars Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten and looks just lovely.  I looked it up on line and all the reviews called it “enchanting” which is pretty much what Shireen said about it too.  Enchanting is right up my alley. It will go well with my Saturday evening latte. 

Hopefully Rob won’t mind ♥

Well, that’s just about it around here, folks.  Nothing terribly exciting but that’s real life and I like it ♥
Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back soon! 


I had to laugh at myself the other day. I looked in the mirror and noticed that my desire to morph into a 1950’s housewife was greatly enhanced by this collar! 

If only all my shirts had one this pretty ♥

Happy lazy Spring! xo