Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Zucchini chocolate cake ♥


Well here it is on Wednesday and I meant to post this on Monday.  This week has somehow gotten away from me.  Not a bad thing, because time flies when you're having fun : )

Here's a little peek into this past weekend....

Saturday morning baking session: Is it a cake or is it brownies? I'm still not sure. 

The recipe calls it brownies but I think it's more like cake. Either way, zucchini and chocolate go together like cream & sugar.

Very, very good!

First shred your zucchini.  You need two cups.  After shredding put it in a towel and squeeze out as much water as you can. 

The recipe comes courtesy of

Here's how to make it:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cups walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9x13 baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix together oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until well blended.
Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. 
Stir into the sugar mixture (I used an electric mixer on low).
Fold in zucchini and nuts.  I did not put nuts in mine.

 Spread evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes. 

So good! Can be served as a dessert, snack, or even a breakfast cake.  I've done all three.

It does have a veggie in it after all!

We had ours with just a little whip cream, however baked in bundt pan with some chocolate frosting would be delicious too!

On Saturday night we got all dressed up and attended my niece's wedding.

This was John's first wedding ♥

He had so much fun! He made fast friends with the DJ and danced the night away :)

Everything about the wedding was gorgeous!

The beautiful bride!

Congratulations to Alycia and Mike!

They make a wonderful couple!

Our table....

And my adorable parents who make me so happy : )

Table selfie ♥

We got these pretty succulents to take home as favors. 

Since there were three of us I get to keep all three! Yay!

On Sunday morning we made a last minute decision and went to the beach. 

This was our first time all summer.

It felt good to dip my toes in the water and breathe in the ocean air. 

It was an absolutely perfect beach day!  

We met my in laws there and spent the day sitting under my pink and white umbrella talking while John swam and played in the sand. 

 He and I broke away for a bit and took a long walk along the water.  We talked and talked and collected shells.  It was my favorite part of the whole day ♥

 And with that we say goodbye to summer....

It's been a fun filled season!

But tomorrow is September 1st.... and you know what that means!

 photo booth fun at the wedding!

I'm switching to fall mode.....pumpkin spice and everything nice!

Enjoy your last day of August, dear friends! xo

Friday, August 26, 2016


Currently in my world...

I was up super early this morning (for some strange reason!) so I'm very tired today. 

 I almost forgot what it was like to see the sunrise : ) 

Soaking up the last two weeks of summer vacation.  School starts September 8th!

happy dance..fa-la-laaaaa...

Daydreaming of Fall♥ 

I am going to start decorating this weekend! 

The storage bins are already out!

Enjoying evening bike & scooter rides with John after dinner.  I am looking forward to continuing this into to Fall when the nights are cooler. 

Planning my outfit for my niece’s wedding on Saturday night.  I have it narrowed down to two dresses from my closet.  Both are black (of course! : )  It will be John’s first wedding and he’s super excited!  I’m looking forward to a fun evening with my family.

Sitting in my fridge are two ripe zucchinis that I got from the farmers market a few days ago.  Yesterday I printed off a recipe for chocolate zucchini cake that I’m going to make this weekend.  Also, homemade cornbread that John requested! The house will be smelling good this weekend!

I have a little craft project in mind that I’m dying to try. Last night I went through my supplies and it got me very excited to “get my craft on” on this weekend!  It’s been awhile since I’ve busted out my stamps and embossing tools.  It must be because school is in the air, but I’m feeling the need to get creative lately. 


And then there’s this…which is my favorite thing of all! 

(no offense to you personally….you know I love YOU!)

I hope your weekend is filled with sunshine and smiles! See you soon! xo 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Orange chicken ♥

Last week I had to take John to the doctors for a routine visit.  While sitting in the waiting room I was enjoying a Family Circle magazine (one of the perks of doctor’s waiting rooms) when I saw this recipe for orange chicken. I’m always on the hunt for new recipes, and this one looked not only delicious, but easy! In the “old days” I would have had to figure out a way to discreetly and quietly rip the page out of the magazine.  Oh, how I hated that!  Now… all I had to do was take out my cell phone and quickly snap a photo of the page.  Sweet! Thank heavens for modern technology! 
Come on….I know you all have done that.  I can’t be the only one… : )
A few nights later I made the recipe. I got a thumbs up from my family so I’m sure I’ll be making it again!
Here is the recipe as it appeared in Family Circle magazine:

2 tbsp. flour
¼ tsp salt
4 boneless chicken breast halves
2 tsp. oil
1 tsp grated orange zest
½ cup orange juice
½ cup chicken broth
1 tbsp. honey
1 clove chopped garlic

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour and salt.  Add the chicken and shake to coat.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until golden brown.  Cook through, 3 -4 minutes on each side.  Transfer to a plate (cover with foil to keep warm).

Add the orange zest, juice, broth, honey, and garlic to the skillet and simmer until slightly thickened – about 4 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and spoon over chicken.

OR…I added the chicken back into the skillet and sprinkled with parsley.

Lately I’ve been in a little bit of a food rut so this chicken was a welcome change. I served it with corn on the cob and a green salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  

I am so looking forward to hearty fall meals like chicken pot pie and chili, but we are not quite there yet.  It’s still very hot here!  On Monday morning it was so nice out that we opened up the windows to let the beautiful fresh air in and fill the house.  It was glorious! Unfortunately it didn’t last long.  By early afternoon the temps were back up to the 90’s and on went the a/c again.  Oh well.  It was a little hint of good things to come!  The nights have been cooling off some, which has been very nice.  Aaaaaand, I’m noticing that it’s getting darker earlier.  Last night it was dark by 8pm!  Not that I’m wishing the summer away (by no means) but I have my quilts and pumpkin spice candles all ready for the first chilly night of the new season. 

Have a happy and wonderful rest of your week! Thank you always for stopping by!
 It means so much to me xoxo

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's coming... ♥

I can feel things starting to shift.  Only two more precious weeks of August and then it will be September.  I've noticed in the evenings it's starting to get darker earlier and every once in a while I get a little hint of something in the air that tells me the season is getting ready to change. And although I am loving the carefree days of summer I am looking forward to getting back to a regular routine.

This weekend I took John school shopping. We went to Walmart and got all his school supplies - folders, notebooks, pencils, etc..  He really enjoyed picking these things out and told me he's excited about fourth grade! We also went clothes shopping which he didn't enjoy as much but I am SO happy that it's done!  Once mid August rolls around I always get anxious that we are going to run out of time and I start scrambling.  He actually doesn't go back to school until September 8th but I hate waiting to the last minute. In any case we've got all our clothes, supplies, and a new backpack (thanks to Nana & Grampy).  All we need is a new lunchbox and we are good to go!

So now that all that is ready all that's left is just to enjoy these last few weeks of vacation.  My niece is getting married next Saturday and it will be John's first wedding.  It will be fun to get all dressed up and have a night out with family.  Plus I love weddings! ♥♥♥

One thing I must keep reminding myself is take time out to breathe...  There are so many things to do, things to enjoy, things to think about.  Life is busy.  Taking time out for myself keeps me grounded. A five minute tea break on the deck by myself can set the tone for my whole day.  I need to do this more often.  Especially as we move into my favorite time of year. other news here are a few pictures of life this week...

I made pizza the other night.

Homemade is the best ♥

I also tried a new recipe for orange chicken. 

It was delicious! I'll be sharing the recipe soon.

Taking a short walk during my lunch break makes the day better....

John is sharing this coloring book he got for his birthday with me.  I'm slightly addicted!

A quick work selfie!
(aren't those bathroom lights horrible?:)

I heard on the news this morning this may go down was one of the driest summers in history!
How these flowers are doing so well is beyond me!

Me and my leopard slippers wish you a very happy Monday!


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Happy 9th birthday!!! ♥♥♥

Today my John celebrated his 9th birthday! I can hardly believe how fast time has gone by.
It makes me  sad when I think about how it was only yesterday I was holding a little bitty baby in my arms. In a blink 9 years have passed.  How did this happen?
But then I think about all the wonderful and fun things that are still to come and I smile again : )
He's grown into such a smart, funny, talented young boy. He loves to sing and dance and makes me laugh every day.  He plays the drums, loves to draw and do art projects, and does magic tricks too. 
He's not very interested in sports, loves to go to the movies, and says he'll be an actor one day.
His room is a mess but there is never a hair out of place on his head. He uses more styling products than I do!
He loves Elvis, hates going to bed early, and likes to roller blade with Daddy. His favorite TV shows are on the Disney Channel and he wouldn't touch a green vegetable if you paid him!
(I'm still working on that one! ugh)
That's pretty much him in a nutshell! ♥

We celebrated tonight at my parent's house with burgers and fries (by his request) and funfetti cake for dessert, which he helped me make last night.

Since he LOVES Elvis I made a few decorations for the cake : )
I think for a kid birthdays and Christmas are just about the best days of the year. I can still remember how I used to feel and there truly is nothing like that excitement. Feeling so incredibly special and getting all the attention.
How happy it makes me to see that in my son's eyes : ) 
Tonight before bed he said that he wished his birthday wasn't over... 
The good news is that there will be another one next year and I can't wait to see that birthday smile again...♥
Happy birthday John! We love you! xoxoxo
PS: It's very ironic that John is such an Elvis fan because August 16th is the anniversary of the day Elvis died.  When I was in the hospital in labor I remember there was a TV in the room and Rob had it on CNN.  There was live coverage from Graceland because fans had gathered for a candlelight vigil to celebrate Elvis's life.  Rob and I have always been Elvis fans and I've actually been to Graceland twice with my Mom.  I guess being a fan is in our blood ♥

Sunday, August 14, 2016

My week in pictures ♥

Welcome to lazy Sunday morning!

Later today we have been invited to Rob's Aunt's pool for a day of  R&R, which is just about the best thing I've heard this week.  We'll be heading out in a bit, but before that I thought I would share with you a few random pictures from the week while I sip my coffee....

or as I like to call it...

Yesterday I made a big pan of cranberry granola.  I've been eating so badly lately I'm hoping that if I have semi-healthy food in the house then I'll eat's the idea anyway.

So far so good because yesterday I added some milk and blueberries and zapped it in the microwave for 1 minute and viola...warm cereal.  It was delicious! 

On Monday we visited Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire.  It's only about an hour from our house. 

We met one of John school friends and his family there. 

I have visited this place almost every summer that I can remember, either with family or on school field trips. 

Lots of memories here....

And we are making new ones on every visit ♥

 Beep beep!

He loves the antique cars! 

It makes me a bit sad that he's tall enough to reach the petal and drive by himself :(

It's been so unbelievably hot this week and finally on Wednesday we got some much needed rain. 

It was glorious! I wish it would have lasted longer.

The flowers were grateful ♥

I brought some of these pretties inside to brighten up the kitchen.

I'm still fighting the urge to decorate for Fall..

My friend told me the Pumpkin Spice Lattes and McD's come out on August 31st!

I can't wait!

The moment I realized the shirt I wore to work matches my mom's blue onion dish pattern. 

I have a love for blue & white! : )

Just finished.  Fantastic!!

I love all Danielle Steel books! Hoping they make a Lifetime movie out of this one.

My deck looks pretty, but it's much too hot to sit here. 

Just. Too. Hot.

Lovely reminder of "How to be Happy" by my favorite Susan Branch

The strawberries at the market are looking delicious this week (and on sale).  These are in my fridge right now.  I'm trying to decide what to do with them.  Pie? Shortcake? Muffins?

Nope. Never.

The struggle is real.

And this little guy (seen here at 5) turns 9 on Tuesday!!! 

I can hardly believe it.  

Wishing you the best day ever! I'm off to the pool. 

Happy Sunday, my friends! xo