Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer days & summer nights ♥ (plus a yummy pasta salad : )

Hello Everyone! We've made it through another Monday! I hope you enjoyed your weekend.  My only complaint is that it went by too fast.  Let me tell you why...
Last week was a bear for me.  For one thing, I got into a car accident.  NO Worries - I am completely fine.  (There were NO injuries in the accident, Thank you God!!!!)  I was hit from behind (there were three cars involved) and luckily no one was in front of me.  However, my car is totaled.  I've spent the past week on the phone with insurance companies, filling out forms, organizing paperwork, and getting stressed out.  I wasn't sleeping well and was looking forward to the weekend like you wouldn't believe. 
Saturday morning I got a long overdue haircut and later that evening we were invited to my friend Jan's for a BBQ.  It was so much fun and just what I needed to cheer me up after a long week.  They made burgers and chicken kabobs on the grill. The food was delicious!
The best part was Jan has a fire pit in her yard and we made s'mores!
It was a quintessential summer night~
Square marshmallows just for s'mores? YES!
Someone else enjoyed it, too! (and probably ate too many : )

 So yummy!

It's probably a good thing that I don't have a fire pit in my backyard because I would eat these things all the time! Seriously. Dangerous.

On Sunday morning we had our first beach day of the season, which we had been planning for a while. 
(The beach we go to is only about 15 minutes from my house :) 
We met my in laws there and spent a family day lounging, swimming, and eating!  John played with his cousins and was in the water for literally 3 hours! He would not come out.  My mother in law brought homemade pizza for lunch which was SO GOOD and my father in law bought the kids ice creams from the ice cream truck. 

It was a little rocky but I didn't mind.  I still took a nice walk along the shore. 
Ahhh, that sea air....good for taking deep breaths.  Just what the doctor ordered to relieve my stress. 
It was a beautiful day for the beach!

A rare moment out of the water!

My spot ♥

So Happy!
A quintessential summer day!
So there you have it.  After an awful week, karma turned my way and we had a wonderful weekend. 
I love it when things happen that way! Don't you?
I wanted to share with you this quick pasta salad I brought to Jan's Saturday night. 
Its easy and came out really good!
I started with tri-color penne, and added in....
mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and freshly chopped parsley.
After I cooked the pasta I added the mozzarella, tomatoes, and olives.

I wasn't sure how everyone felt about olives (I love them) so I only added a small amount.   I was surprised when a few people said to me how much they "LOVE" olives.  I'll add more next time! 
No question on the mozzarella though ♥♥♥
I dressed the salad with Ken's Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette!
I got this idea from my sister in law. She made an amazing pasta salad for Father's Day. 
This is the secret ingredient ♥  
Don't add too much.  Here's my bottle so you can see how much I did.  Not even half.
Finally, add your chopped parsley.  Just a handful will do.
Let it sit in the fridge and marinate for a little while.  The mozzarella will soak up all the yummy dressing.  It's delicious! 
Just another reason to love pasta~
And here I am on our way to the BBQ....amusing myself in the back seat while John is in the front, talking to Rob about music and drummers, and bands I have never heard of.  That's ok.  I'm feeling better!
Positive vibes for the week ahead! Fingers crossed! xoxo

Friday, June 23, 2017

Summer bucket list and weekly wrap up ♥

Good Afternoon my Friends! Happy Friday!  

While I was drinking my coffee this morning I got to thinking about some things I am looking forward to doing this summer.  They are not major things but it's the little things that mean the most, don't you think?  I've been so busy lately with LIFE that I have to constantly keep reminding myself to stop and smell the roses.  I don't want the precious weeks of summer to slip past me.  

Slow down, Danielle.  Slow down.   

Here is a quick summer bucket list of randomness....

Go to the beach and relax…. Hopefully going this Sunday if the weather cooperates.  I can’t wait to feel the sand on my bare feet and smell the salty ocean air.  Also will give me a chance to wear my new beach hat! 

Summer reading! I just got some amazing book recommendations that I can’t wait to dive into.  Will be bringing my books to the beach.  
I would love to hear your recommendations as well.  Is there something you absolutely loved? 
Please tell me!! 

*side note:  there is something so satisfying about going to the library in the summer. I remember going as a kid on hot, hot summer days.  It was so cool and quiet.  I just love it ♥♥♥  

Oh, and guess what? I found out that John will be reading Harry Potter next year in reading class!  So strange since I was just talking about how I’ve never read it.  Now I’ve got my chance, and John and I can read it together. 

Have a museum day.  I like to reset my batteries with a solo museum visit.  I’m hoping to go here soon. 

Mani/pedi – this sounds so minor but I very rarely set aside time for pampering myself.  
Would love a facial too: )

Plan our next Disney trip, which will hopefully be in the fall (fingers crossed). 
The planning itself is half  the fun! #alwaysdisneydreaming  

Have a Disney movie marathon! I want to revisit the classics ♥ 

Celebrate Christmas in July on July 25th.  Make frozen hot chocolate again!

Catch up on handwritten letters and packages to friends.

Work on my watercolors.

Visit the farmers market.  Eat fresh fruits and veggies! I want to make this baked tomato salad again. 

Use my ice cream maker (I’ll have to wipe the dust off it first : )

Go on a family picnic.  I’m imaging  lobster rolls and iced tea on a blanket right here… 

Bring back game night!

Plan John’s birthday party in August

I would like to have a tea party this summer, and I wish you all could come.  We could eat cucumber sandwiches and mini macaroons and sip the afternoon away.  Wouldn’t that be lovely?

And most importantly….work on keeping no schedule! That’s what the rest of the year is for! 

John has kicked off his first week of summer vacation with a trip to the public pool with some friends, saw Cars 3 (again!), and two days at his grandparents house where he is spoiled rotten!  One day out to breakfast, one day out to lunch and an ice cream.  He's easing into summer vacation like a pro! 

Anyhow....on that note here are a few pictures from my life around here last week.... 

We celebrated Father's Day last Sunday.  I made my Father in law this lemon blueberry trifle....

And my Dad this apple pie.  Don't worry about Rob.  

He got a little of each! 

Some of my current beauty favorites : ) 

We are enjoying the cooler evenings, because its been H-O-T during the days! 

Spur of the moment ice cream run with my co-worker! 

I got coconut almond joy! It was ah-mazing! 

I need to balance out with a little salad.  Grocery store salad bars are always a treat! 

Two things I saw that I didn't buy but should have.  First this book (which I could easily have written!) 

And this tank top! Which should be the motto of my life! lol 

And there you have it.  Nothing fancy, nothing special.  Just summer! 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Remember to slow it down! 


Monday, June 19, 2017

He's not a fourth grader anymore ♥

Friday was John's last day of school! 

Here he is all dressed up and ready to go on Friday morning....

Can I get a bigger smile please? (says me every time I try to take his picture : ) 

Very funny.... ♥ 

The stampede as the bell rang and the double doors opened! 

See you in September! 


I remember that feeling! Nothing compares to it, except maybe Christmas. 

We celebrated by going to lunch with his friend Sean to McDonalds (their choice ♥)

He got a Happy Meal, and since it was technically still morning (it was 11:30) I got this bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit for breakfast.  It was SO good!! I haven't had one in years!!! 

After that we all went to the movies to see Cars 3!  He loved it! 

And just like that he's not a fourth grader anymore.  My baby is in fifth grade!  Hard to believe.  

I'm so proud of him.  This was certainly his most challenging year and he never gave up.  I can't wait to see what fifth grade brings! 

But.....after the summer break.  

Time to breathe.  Time to relax.  Time to be a kid.  

We have a lot of ice cream to eat over the next two and a half months...and I intend to do it as slowly as possible.  

Confession.  My day started with McDonald's and ended with this crazy banana split sundae. 

Oh dear.  

Well, I did it for John.  It was a special occasion.   What's a mom to do? 

Happy Summer, my friends! It's here!!! 

(no matter what the calendar says!) 


Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Desiderata of Happiness ♥

    Have you ever heard of The Desiderata?

     It's a poem written by Max Ehrmann in 1952.  It's probably one of the most beautiful pieces ever written. 

    Every time I read it, it fills me with joy & hope ♥ 
    (and who doesn't need that on a daily basis : ) 

    I like to use it as my "guide to life".  

    I would like to share this poem with you today, in the event that you need a little inspiration in your life.  

    The last paragraph is my favorite.... 


    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story. 

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 

    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism. 

    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass. 

    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself. 

    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 

    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 

    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy. 

    Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

    Wishing you all a very beautiful day.  Whatever you are going through, remember there is good in this world and I am grateful you are here.  

    Strive to be happy ♥ Xx 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Weekly wrap up ♥

Hello Friends! Happy Sunday morning.  I know I'm a little late posting my weekly wrap up.  This past week was challenging for me. It was one of those crazy weeks where I was being pulled in ten different directions.  I'm not a person who does well under pressure. Nor am I a fan of change.  I much prefer life in the slow lane, but sometimes it doesn't always work out that way.  How do you deal with stress? Brownies and The Bachelorette are getting me through it. 
Also a good book!  I just started this one last night. It's the sequel to Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spells, which I LOVED.  I've been waiting for the perfect time to read this book.  Now is the time.  Only three chapters in and I'm loving it. 

There is nothing like getting completely lost in a book.  It's the best feeling ♥

The weather here has been totally unpredictable.  The week started with rain, rain, and more rain.  It was cold and actually felt more like November than June.  We resisted the urge to turn the heat on (although it was tempting!) and bundled up in cozy blankets at night.  Then all of a sudden the sun came out and up went the temperatures.  Tomorrow it's supposed to be in the 90's!

Me not wanting to get out of bed.......

John not wanting to get out of bed... (yes, that's fidget spinner on his nose...)

Spinach salad with poppy seed dressing.  My attempt to eat healthier at work his week. 

Makes me feel less guiltily about the brownies I just made. 
I can't help it.  I told you, I'm stressed ♥


This helps too! The Bachelorette is really good this season! 

It's watermelon season!!!  This one was very sweet! Just the way we like it.

Do you know my favorite way to eat corn on the cob?  I cut it off the cob so it still stays in long strips, and eat it that way.  I know it's weird, but it tastes just as good and it doesn't get stuck in your teeth.  A little trick I learned back when I wore braces ♥


And these yummy potatoes!  My mother always called this Italian Potato Salad.  Just boil little potatoes (skin on) until tender.  Slice them if half if you want to.  Drain and then toss them in Italian dressing, salt & pepper, and parsley. Chill.  They are delicious!  

I checked this out of the library today.  I've heard a lot about this book so I'm anxious to see what it's all about.  I hope to find some new and interesting recipes inside! I follow Jessica on Instagram and her food looks amazing!

Freeze pops on the go! ♥

Having fun with snapchat filters.  Clearly I need a vacation. 

So there you have it.  I'm hoping to be more organized next week.  Get more sleep, take more deep breaths, and think more clearly.  If all that fails......

Whose with me????