Saturday, August 31, 2019

John's 12th Birthday and Decorating for Fall ♥

Hello Friends! 

Well, here we are at the end of August.  Where did the month go?  It seemed to go by in a flash... 

John turned 12 on August 16th. (12??? I can hardly believe it!) We spent the day in the city, walking around Faneuil Hall Marketplace, and going to the New England Aquarium (where I literally saw the biggest turtle I've ever seen in my life!)  It was alot of fun.  That night we had dinner with my parents. John requested take out from his favorite restaurant and cheesecake for dessert! The following Sunday he invited some friends to a local place for laser tag and arcade games. 
He's had this same group of friends since kindergarten and it's so nice to see them all together, growing up before my eyes! Such a nice group of boys.  John is very lucky! 

The next Sunday (yup, this birthday celebration is still going on.....) we invited the Giannandrea side of the family over for pizza and ice cream cake.  In case you are wondering, Dairy Queen makes the BEST ice cream cakes! I highly recommend them!! 

And finally we were done with the birthday! WHEW! The longest celebration in history! lol 

And just like that, my 12 year old starts 7th grade on Wednesday! I'm not ready for this..... : ) 

After all the birthday celebrating I decided it was time to get ready for school.  On Monday we had our annual marathon school shopping day, followed by lunch.  I enjoy checking things off the school supply list.  John enjoys lunch!  He's less than thrilled that school is starting back up again, and I totally don't blame him.  It's been a good summer ♥


Around the house I've slowly been transitioning to fall.  It started with a candle.....


and a cup of pumpkin spice.....♥


Today I added a bit more....




I've missed these colors! Little pops of orange, red, and yellow tucked into every nook and cranny.  It's really starting to feel like fall now!

And then there's this....which I am not responsible for in the least...♥


And that's how I'm wrapping up August! Tomorrow is the first of the month and I'm all ready for fall!

Happy September 1st everyone!

 I hope you all had a great summer! ♥


Friday, August 23, 2019

Blueberry Pie Oatmeal Bars

Hello Friends! 

 I am writing you tonight from the comfort of my cozy bed.  It's been a long week and I've been dreaming of this moment since Monday.  I was on the go all week, busy at work, and the worst part is that it's been so HOT here.  I'm talking over 90 degrees for days on end.  The air is thick and humid.  It feels yucky to be outside. By this point in the summer I'm over it.  Not to say I didn't love this summer.  It was wonderful....but it's time for it go.  The heat makes me tired and I feel like lump.  It's time for cozy sweaters and crunchy leaves.  I'm so grateful I live in an area where the seasons change.  I don't think you can really appreciate a season if you have it all the time.  It's got to go away so we can miss it.  I went grocery shopping tonight and when I was walking to my car I saw that it was dark out and it wasn't even 8pm!  We are losing light and that's the first sign change is coming. 

Because it's been so hot  I haven't had much energy for baking.  I've really missed it too.  This week I was determined to get back into the kitchen.  I enjoy having homemade desserts after dinner and I love trying new recipes!  I was surfing around Pinterest and came across this recipe for Blueberry Pie Oatmeal Bars that looked interesting.  Its one of those 4 ingredient recipes that is so easy it's almost criminal.  Perfect for when you don't really feel like doing much work but want something homemade.  I had all the ingredients on hand so I thought I'd give it a try.  

They came out delicious!  A slice of blueberry pie, in a bar....: ) 

The recipe comes from Mom on Time Out blog  (I adapted the cooking time slightly : ) 

1 yellow cake mix
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
3/4 butter, melted 
21 oz can blueberry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with non stick spray.
Mix cake and oats in a large bowl. 
Add melted butter and stir until crumbly. 
Firmly press down half of the crumbs into the bottom of the pan.
Carefully spread the blueberry pie filling over the crumb layer. 
Spread the remaining crumbs over the filling and press down gently. 
Bake as directed according to the cake mix box.  
(mine baked for 30 minutes)  
The top layer will be golden brown : ) 

Let cool completely before cutting.  Store in the refrigerator. 

(I imagine any pie filling would also work.  These would be yummy with cherry, apple, or strawberry filling, don't you think?)

John absolutely loved these! I plan on making them again when he starts school to put in his lunchbox. 

These blueberry bars are the best kind of dessert because they are perfectly acceptable for breakfast also. Nice with with a cup of coffee or tea.  Not too sweet, but hit the spot when you need a little something.  I really loved them! 

Little by little, as fall approaches I will be getting back into baking.  I currently have canned pumpkin in my pantry and I'm not afraid to use it! : ) 

I'll be working out my "end of summer funk" by taking John back to school shopping on Monday.  At least one of us is looking forward to it (me!).  He's got a week and half left of vacation and let me tell you, he's clinging to every minute.  He celebrated a birthday last week and I'll tell you all about it next time. I can't believe he's 12!!!  

Have a great weekend everyone!!  xoxo 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Weekend in The Berkshires ♥

Hello Friends!  

I am just back from a wonderful 4 day weekend spent in Stockbridge, MA.  A beautiful quaint area tucked in the western part of our state.  Every summer Rob's family does a family getaway.  For the past several years we have gone to New Hampshire.  This year we changed it up a bit and tried a new place (for some of us, anyway).  I had never been to  the Berkshires before.  I was pleasantly surprised by the charming shops, beautiful views, and quintessential New England feel.

We were only a 5 minute walk from the famous Red Lion Inn, which we had lunch at on Friday.  Our rental was a very old home - with secret passages, multiple doors, and even a phone booth in one of the closets??  It was decorated with Normal Rockwell artwork, who is the hometown celebrity in Stockbridge.  I was lucky enough to visit his museum on Saturday and I enjoyed every minute of it! What a great and talented man he was!

That evening we packed a picnic and went to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood.  It was an amazing experience.  Maybe not so much for the kids (whom I heard yawning through most of it....: )  but for the adults it was quite a show. 

Our final day was spent my favorite way, meandering down old streets, browsing shops, and eating ice cream.  We even took a little nap in a screened in favorite room on the house.   The weekend started off hot and humid (which I did not enjoy) but luckily the temperature dropped a bit on Saturday and by Sunday I even felt a hit of fall in the air.  It was a fun weekend spent with family, playing games, eating good food, and catching up. It made my heart happy to see John having quality time with his cousins, some he only sees a few times a year.  They rode bikes, went on a hike, and stayed up to the wee hours of the morning laughing.  For me, that was the best part of the trip.

Our home for the weekend.  On the right is the screened in porch. 

It was so comfortable! 

Walking around the town I kept thinking about how pretty it must be in the Fall and then I came upon this river.  I could totally feel FALL here! : ) 

Our picnic at Tanglewood courtesy of my sister in law! My favorite meal of the trip!
It was as good as it looks! 

The grounds were gorgeous! 


All of us! (I am hiding in the back : ) 

It was good to get home on Monday. I layed down and took a 2 hour nap!  I was back to work on Tuesday feeling refreshed. 

Only 2 more weeks of summer my friends (because on my calendar once it's September, summer is over!).  Fall is right around the corner, and I personally cannot wait!