Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Summer favorites: with a grateful heart... ♥

Hello Friends! I am back.  I feel as though I have been disconnected for a few days.  I want to say thank you to all my online friends who have reached out with all their positive thoughts and prayers lately. 
For those of you who don't know, my Mom had an unexpected trip to the hospital last week.  She had a sever blockage in her heart and had to have surgery on Friday.  I'm happy to say our prayers were answered.  She's home now and doing much better.  It was quite a scare for my family and we are so grateful that she is okay.  Now we are focusing on her recovery - making sure she takes her medicines, follows a new (low salt!) diet, and once she gets her strength back, a little exercise. 
There is nothing like a health scare to put things into perspective.  When my Mom was in the hospital, I didn't care about anything else. I just wanted her to be okay.  Something like this changes you.  We got a warming and now we've been given a second chance.  I'm so grateful God was (is!) watching over us!
Before this happened (last Tuesday) I had these photo's uploaded and prepared to post as my weekly Summer Favorites.  I'm going to still post them, just keep in mind they are two weeks old. I have to still keep myself busy or else I will worry, worry, worry.  There are times in life when a little distraction and mindless chatter are a good thing! ♥  
So anyway, here are a few other things going on lately....
Something I've always wanted to do is see Shakespeare in the park.  I read in last weeks paper that the Bay Colony Shakespeare Company will be preforming Midsummer Night's Dream in August, outdoors, just one town over.  It's a nighttime show in a beautiful venue, just minutes from my house.  I bought my ticket and can hardly wait to go ♥
We had some fun pool time at Rob's aunt & uncles pool.  What a fun day!
Love them so much!

Just look at that face! xoxo

And then on one rainy Saturday afternoon I found this in my pantry.... Old fashioned brown bread! It's the stuff my childhood was made of! (Yes, it's bread in a can! If you are from New England you know what I'm talkin' about! : )

Toasted with butter is the best! Add an old black & white Jimmy Stewart movie and you've got a perfect Saturday afternoon!

A new bakery opened up in South Weymouth square.  It's a dangerous place, let me tell you!

I discovered that I really LOVE Kind bars! They are worth the extra few pennies.  This one (dark chocolate cherry cashew) was delicious!  
I got some fresh mint and basil from my father in law's garden.  It's so pretty and fragrant that I put them in a vase on the kitchen island.  I wish I had his green thumb for gardening!
I took a stroll by one of my favorite little French shops in the square.  Unfortunately I can only afford to window shop.....and I do that often! : )  

We hung a new clock in the bedroom. Well, it's not actually new.  I got this clock quite a while ago and have never hung it.  Once I finally did it I remembered how much I love a ticking clock in the house.  I guess I haven't had one in a while.  It's very comforting.

Have I told you that we are going to Disney??? Yes! Next month we are road tripping to Orlando! (we are staying here) This will be John's first Disney trip - and also his birthday week! What more could an new 8 year old ask for?! Last week I asked my IG/twitter friends for any tips regarding Disney travel.  Thank you all so much for your suggestions! And please keep them coming! I'm concerned about the August Florida heat and also the crowds, but you all had some great suggestions ♥
The cherry tomato plant on my deck is doing awesome! It's been very hot and humid here lately so I have to remember to water them.  As long as I do that, they are happy!
Same goes for the geraniums.  Must. remember. to. water.
Fresh mint leaves in orange fizzy drinks are very refreshing on a hot day!
Have you ever tried argan oil? This conditioner is the best one I have ever used! I have always wanted to try it but it's very expensive.  Then the other day I had a great idea.  Buy the travel size! It's way cheaper and you only use a little at a time anyway.  Brilliant! This conditioner makes my hair soft and shiny - and it smells amazing!
I checked out Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette from the library (again!) last week an watched it for the umpteenth time! I really love this movie.  I think Kirsten Dunst made the perfect Marie Antoinette. And it was actually filmed at The Palace of Versailles. It's so beautiful! (one of the places I would LOVE to go to). The costumes are amazing too! ♥♥♥
Because it's been so hot, I've been going the easy route with cooking.  This day I made roasted sausages, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes.  All on one cookie sheet and it was delicious!
 My Dad planted wild flower seeds on the side of my parents house.  We had no idea what was going to grow.  This is the result.  Quite pretty! I love the one lone red flower, just standing there in the middle.  I know how she feels. #awkward
Here is a tip that I learned from Susan Branch's Summer book.  When it's really hot out, put your body lotions, moisturizers, perfumes, etc  in the refrigerator.  What a refreshing treat on hot skin.  I've been doing this for years.  Cold Oil of Olay on my face after a hot shower is the best!
 Some of you have asked me about the stones that I talked about in my last post.  I am planning on doing a blog post about them soon.  They have really helped me this week ♥


And of course the obligatory ice cream cone! We can't stop and we don't want to! Do you take jimmies or sprinkles?
Thank you all so much for being here! You have no idea how much I appreciate you!
Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer love...zucchini bread ♥

Hello Friends! ♥
Another week gone by!  Summer has been treating us well.  Other than it being unbearably HOT (thank goodness for central air conditioning :) the days have been long and at night we are sleeping like logs!
Last week at summer camp John learned all about snakes & reptiles (eek!). This week's theme is nutrition and cooking.  I think I will enjoy hearing about this weeks activities more so than last week.  Although his molded/clay/painted snake was a masterpiece!
Isn't camp fun?!
Here are some of my favorite things from the past week.....
On Saturday we had friends over for our first BBQ of the summer.  My hubby did all the grilling while I stayed inside the air conditioned house with our guests.  It was SO HOT that day! I really appreciated his help! : )
I received a letter from a friend when I really needed it.  There is power in small miracles : )
This week brought pink toes, cute shoes, and pretty flowers. 
And I discovered all drinks taste better in mason jars, don't you agree?
I sat in this room for 5 hours on Thursday serving my civic obligation at jury duty.  All the pending cases ended up settling so they released us after lunch.  Jury duty is a great chance to read three chapters of your current book, as well as catch up on twitter, IG, & Facebook.  I thanked my lucky stars we had Wi-Fi in that little room.
I'm discovering the healing power of crystals.  Although I'm just a beginner at this, I can already feel myself connecting to these beautiful stones ♥ This is my first batch I got today at a lovely shop recommended to me by a friend.  I will happily absorb all the positive energy I can get. 
Thank you Universe ♥
I've been enjoying decorating little corners of my home with flowers and creating mini vignettes like this one.  One of the best thing about summer is that you can be your own florist.  Just step outside with the clippers and it's all yours! ♥
And here is the highlight of the week.....zucchinis!
When friends with gardens bring me zucchinis, I break out the grater and make zucchini nut bread!
Only a few days ago Susan Branch posted her recipe for zucchini bread on her blog.  I was dying to try it, so first thing Sunday morning I got grating.
Her recipe calls for 2 cups grated raw zucchini, which ended up being on large zucchini.
I have to admit, the grating is half the fun (very therapeutic!).  Just watch your fingers!
After it was grated I wrapped the zucchini in paper towels and pressed it in a small colander to get the water out. 
Here is Susan's recipe that I followed:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated, raw, unpeeled zucchini
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
Mix together eggs, sugar, & oil.  Beat well.  Stir in zucchini. 
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, soda, & cinnamon.
Stir into batter along with vanilla and nuts. 
Mix well. 
Pour into two greased 8x4 loaf pans.
Bake 60 minutes, until knife in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely before turning out.
My friend Lisa (who gave me these beauties!) sent me a few other zucchini recipes to try:
According to her hubby, the zucchini stuffed lasagna is really good! I have to try that one. Also the zucchini pizza crust sounds delicious.  I'm looking forward to making these recipes!
Thanks Lisa & Dave for sharing!
 I hope you are having a great week so far!
Stay cool and enjoy these summer days! ♥

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Parmesan Pasta (with peas) ♥

Hello &  Happy July!!!
Summer is in full swing and it's been hot! I've been trying to beat the heat by eating lots of ice cream, taking walks on the beach with my feet in the ocean, cranking up the a/c ,and watching lots of The Walton's reruns.  Yup....so far, Summer 2015 is going quite well! ♥
I love recipes that only have a few ingredients, don't you?  I especially love them if I already have all the ingredients on hand! Here is a super easy pasta dish that will have you in and out of the kitchen in a flash.  It comes together in minutes and will feed your whole family with plenty of leftovers.
1 lb pasta, cooked (any type)
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
fresh ground black pepper
Put (cooked) pasta in a microwavable dish large enough to give you a little room for stirring and tossing.
Drizzle with olive oil.

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and some fresh ground pepper on top.  Toss to coat the pasta. 

Cover and heat in microwave for 3 - 5 minutes. 

Eat as is or you could add cooked chicken and/or 1- 2 cups of pre-cooked vegetables. 

I added cooked peas. 

This would also be delicious with chopped tomatoes, broccoli, or zucchini. 

Enjoy ♥

Now if someone would only tell my husband that it's OK to eat pasta without red sauce. 
Really, it's OK.
He doesn't know what he's missing.... : )