Friday, August 14, 2015

Back to School ♥

We are leaving for our Disney vacation one week from today! (yippeeeee!!!!!!!!) When we get home John will only have 5 days left of summer before school starts.  Hopefully that will be enough time for him to recuperate because I'm sure our week will be busy.  Anyway, before we leave I wanted to make sure I have everything ready for back to school so I won't be scrambling at the last minute.  I printed off the "supply" list from the school website and off I went.  I always loved this process of getting everything new.  Needless  to say I was way more excited about these supplies than he was : )
The smell of newly sharpened pencils reminds me of my elementary school days and the butterflies I would get in my tummy the night before the first day.  Who would I get for a teacher? Would my friends be in my class? Will it be hard? I was very shy and always seemed nervous about something.  I enjoyed the lunches my Dad would make me (always will a little chocolate treat of some kind in there ) and even though I hated clothes shopping, wearing a new outfit on the first day of school was exciting.  I can remember laying it out the night before, so it would be just right.  New school shoes, on the other hand, took a little longer to break in.   

I got all John's school shirts last week.  They are pressed and ready to go.  He's got his new shoes, belt, and pants - which are now at the tailors (aka - my mom's) getting hemmed.  As soon as we get back from vacation, I will be in full Fall mode.  I'm resisting the urge right now because we still have some summer left in us - but after Disney there is no holding back.  September and October are my favorite months.  Back to school means the leaves will start to turn and the nights will be cool.  The smell of wood burning in the air will drift in and out of the windows.  I love that smell.  I have visions of a pot of spaghetti sauce bubbling on the stove and fresh baked brownies made to pack in lunches.  There will be homework and activities and heavenly chaos. 
Third grade means we are moving up in the world.  Third grade is band (he plays drums) and he's finally old enough to join the jr. drama club which he's been waiting for since first grade.  Life as an 8 year old (he turns 8 on Sunday) can be pretty exciting! So much to learn and experience during these days.  My heart is full ♥
But before all this.....I must get packing. We are leaving on a 7 day road trip from Boston to Orlando and I haven't packed a thing.  So much to do! I've been waiting to take my little love to Disney since the day he was born.  It's finally happening!

Rob and I honeymooned in Disney in 1998 (wow) and went back to celebrate several anniversaries.  For a wedding gift I purchased him a brick on the walkway to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom. It has our names and anniversary date on it. I bought it via mail and shortly after I received a certificate and a map showing exactly where it was.  On our first day at the park it was so fun trying to find it.  Like a treasure hunt! Going to Disney without kids is amazing because there is so much there just for adults! This time we will be able to see Disney through a child's eyes and experience all his wonder and excitement. 
What a way to end the summer! I can hardly sleep ~

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer favorites: peach crisp and sunsets ♥


It's peach season! Finally the peaches are ripe and juicy.  I've been craving them so badly and when we got invited to a party this past weekend I knew exactly what I wanted to make: peach crisp!

I waffled back and forth between peach crisp and peach cobbler.  In the end, I went with the crisp because I kept thinking about the cinnamon, sugar, and oats on top.
It gets me every time  ♥
6 cups of sliced peaches (no need to peel them!) - about 6-8 peaches
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup + 3 tablespoons flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter - cold, cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a 9x13 baking dish
In a large bowl toss peaches with cinnamon, vanilla, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 3 tablespoons flour.
Pour into greased baking dish.
In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup flour with old fashioned oats and brown sugar.  Cut in butter until you have a crumbly consistency.
Pour mixture over the peaches.
Bake uncovered 45 - 50 minutes.
There is something about a crisp that people really love.  My family scooped this one right up! So much so that I forgot to take a photo of me actually eating it.  It was great, and I won't even mention how the taste of cinnamon reminded me that Fall is coming.  I won't even mention how happy that made me feel....but it did! ♥
In other news....
Last week I saw a gorgeous summer sunset.  I caught a glimpse of the pink sky through my window and I actually ran outside in my ugly PJ's to see more. Luckily no one saw me. 
It was worth it!
I am constantly in awe of a sunset, even though it happens every night   : )
 I treated myself to an after work margarita! With salt : )
So good!
We've been lucky enough to enjoy a few days like this - poolside and fun with friends!
And most of our nights lately look like this...with the Disney Channel in the background. 
John loves the show Jessie! ♥
Summer reading? I've been trying but he's just not interested.  I have a feeling we're going to be doing a lot of cramming at the last minute.  Ugh.
Having a little pre-vacation fun at the Disney store.
Less than two weeks to go before our trip and the excitement is building...for all of us!
My lists are made and packing begins this weekend.  Yay!
My Dad's wildflowers are wildflowers! LOL
They are awful pretty, aren't they?
I saw this quote the other day and it really spoke to me. 
Couldn't be more true!
Enjoy your week my lovely friends! xo


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Almond loaf ♥

The other day when I was grocery shopping I picked up a bag of slivered almonds. (I was overly excited because they were on sale : )  I spent the rest of my shopping trip trying to decide what I could make with them, and then I remembered a dessert my Mother in law taught me how to make one summer, several years ago.  It was in her old kitchen (which had cherry cabinets and wallpaper!), in a house I loved on a street called Tick Tock Lane.  She had been making this dessert forever and one day I asked her for the recipe. It tastes very fancy and I assumed that it would be a very difficult recipe.  I was shocked at how easy it was.  This dessert will impress people, but let me tell you - it's a snap!

For the first layer:
1 stick of butter
1 cup flour
3 teaspoons water
Mix flour, softened butter, and water into a dough.

Separate into two balls, and then shape into two long pieces.
Press flat, side by side, onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
For the second layer:
1 cup water
1 stick butter
Bring to a rolling boil.

Have the next three ingredients ready so you can work fast...

Remove from heat and quickly add:
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 eggs
Beat until smooth.
Spread this mixture evenly right to edge of each dough piece.
Bake at 350 degrees until light golden starts to appear - about 45 minutes.
For the glaze:
about 1 cup Confectionery sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon of milk
Whisk together until smooth.
Immediately drizzle with glaze and sprinkle generously with slivered almonds.
Let cool completely before cutting into bars.
I think it's best to store this in the refrigerator.
It's even better the next day!
The best part is that this easy recipe makes two loaves!

Served with espresso, this was just one of the many delicious desserts I discovered from my Mother in law on Tick Tock Lane.  I'm happy to carry on the tradition to my family now.  Its funny how recipes can be a scrapbook.  Like my Nana's apple pie or my Mom's sour cream coffee cake.  It's memories & comfort food for the soul ♥