Tuesday, August 23, 2016

first grade

Well, our first week of first grade was a success. I was heartbroken that we switched schools, but it seems to be working out well.   We're enjoying our new routine and looking forward to a great year. We have a reading group meeting Monday evening and I'm looking forward to getting involved with a new PTO and being a home room mother. So many fun things to do

We have a busy week ahead of us, celebrating my mom's birthday on Friday and Landon's on Saturday.  I'm also working on getting our house ready for fall. Be ready for all things pumpkin coming up soon. I can't wait!!

Have a great week! 
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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

espresso chunky monkey banana bread

Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey is our favorite ice cream. Bananas, chocolate, walnuts...what's not to love? Since it was a rainy, lazy kind of Monday yesterday, I decided to make some chunky monkey banana bread. I've been working on things I can keep in the freezer for a quick breakfast since we're heading back to school soon and this was declared a winner. While eating a 2nd small slice, Landon asked if we could have this every day.

Espresso Chunky Monkey Banana Bread 
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions -

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the bananas, sugars, butter, milk, and egg.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.  Pour into the wet ingredients  and stir until just combined. Using a spatula , fold in the chocolate chips & walnuts.

Fill loaf pan about 3/4 full. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes or  until a toothpick comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it.

Let cool for 15 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool about 15 more minutes.

Cut into slices. Serve with or without butter.

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Adapted from Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Friday, August 5, 2016

five on friday

Hooray for Friday!! We're in back-to-school mode as we head into our LAST WEEK of summer vacation.  It feels so odd to start school in the middle of August and it definitely seems to shorten the summer.  But that's how it is now I guess. I'm linking up with Five on Friday again this week. Here we go!!

Sunday is National Sister's Day. I celebrate my sister every day. She's definitely my best friend and my biggest cheerleader. I can't imagine what I'd do without her. We get each other in a way that only sisters can and I'm so blessed to have her by my side.

We've been working on redecorating our bedroom. I had purchased some new bedding a while back (on sale at Pottery Barn), which I've waited to use until we got new lamps and a few new accessories. I ordered this print to hang over my chest. I'm a big vintage Nancy Drew fan and love how simple this print is.

Landon loves to play Jenga, so I ordered this Suspend game to add to our family game night rotation. It's a lot of fun to play and Landon really likes it. 
I've been doing a lot of back-to-school shopping. I never realized how many things first graders need. Landon loves all things SONIC, so I found him a Sonic umbrella on eBay to match his back pack. He's pretty excited about that.

I've been eating green tomatoes almost every day. Now that I've been baking mine, I'm able to indulge a bit more often. Of course, when my mom stopped by earlier this week with a little plate of fried green goodness, I couldn't resist. They were delicious!!  She doesn't really follow a recipe; she just mixes up her usual cornbread batter, dips the tomato slices and fries them up. It's like a little taste of heaven you guys, so grab some green tomatoes and fry some up.  Next week I'll be sharing some tips on how to have green tomatoes all winter. 

Have a great weekend!
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Thursday, August 4, 2016

national sister's day

When you think of your sister, what comes to mind? Best friend immediately comes to my mind.  Some may say she's a good listener, others will say she's funny or that she gives great advice. In a poll of 1500 people, 28% of 18-65 year olds said their sister is their best friend. It should come as no surprise. After all, a sister is someone you share milestones (and secrets!) with. 

National Sister Day is right around the corner, so Shari's Berries decided to celebrate all the wonderful sisters out there with a fun infographic that shows what people love most about their sister, famous sister pairs and scientific facts about sisters. So, the next time you get into a sibling argument, just remember all the times she's made you smile.  You can take a look at some fun sister facts and sister pairs here

While you're there, send your sister some strawberries. I'm sure she'll thank you...and maybe even share! 

Have a great day!
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Friday, July 29, 2016

five on friday

Hooray for Friday. Mike has next week off, so we're squeezing in some last summer days of fun before school starts. I can't believe how fast this summer has went by and I'm not looking forward to letting go of these easy and relaxed mornings.  I'm linking up with Five on Friday again this week. Here we go! 

We're going to the pool tomorrow and then having a low country boil for dinner....our favorite summer meal. After that it's CANASTA time. We love playing and squeeze in a few games whenever we can. Mike teams up with my mom and I team up with my sister.  It's so much fun! We play, talk, eat, laugh.  But you guys, I'm not going to lie...sometimes it gets UGLY.   I enjoy playing enough not to really care who wins, but everyone else, not so much.

Even though I don't smoke, whenever we play Canasta, I always feel like I need one of these. Ha!! I think it's because my dad's mom always had one beside her while she played cards. Just a bit of nostalgia I suppose. 


Landon picked out these cute shoes for his back-to-school sneakers. So fun and they are on sale right now! I'm hitting sales whenever I can because there is A LOT to buy for first grade. 

We went to a popular hot dog restaurant over the weekend, Hillbilly Hotdogs. It's near Huntington, WV in a little town called Lesage. It's a school bus turned restaurant that has even been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. They are famous for their Homewrecker, which thankfully Mike passed on. We did enjoy the regular hot dogs and the fried mushrooms were fantastic. It was a nice family road trip.

Now that fall baking season is almost here (hooray!!),  I'm wanting to get some new canisters to hold my baking staples. I want something that will hold an entire bag of flour and think this will work perfectly. I'm excited to get everything ready for pumpkin season. 

We needed some new lamps for our bedroom and I found these at Pottery Barn. A bit more than I wanted to pay, but the color goes perfectly with our new bedding.  I'm thinking about covering the shades with a floral fabric, but we'll see. I'm going to enjoy them as is for now. 

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

falling in love again (with nancy drew)

Saturday evening I was able to visit with an old friend. We got home from a day out with the family around 8pm and Landon wanted to play outside for a bit before bed. I sat on the porch while he played and read an old Nancy Drew book, The Witch Tree Symbol. I felt like I was 12 years old again, reading outside in the muggy evening heat as night fell.  It was wonderful!! Even though I'm older now, the books are just as good as I remember.  So good in fact that I've decided to revisit all my Nancy Drew favorites. It's a nice escape from the politics and sad daily news stories.

I've always enjoyed going back and reading books from my childhood and these are no exception. They are set in such a simpler time and the etiquette and manners displayed by the gang of River Heights is so refreshing.  I'm so glad I decided to pick these up again! 
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Friday, July 22, 2016

five on friday

Hooray for Friday! It's been crazy hot here this week and it's supposed to be even hotter tomorrow with the heat index topping out at 105. Where are you September?! No, I'm really not  wishing summer away, even though autumn is my favorite season. We have lots of fun left to squeeze in before it's back to school.  I'm linking up with Five on Friday again this week. Let's get to it!

I got this cute shirt from the Nordstrom early access sale. I think it will be perfect for cool evenings in the fall. Oh, I mentioned fall again! HA... So many other cute things I want, but I'm trying to keep my spending in check.

I finally got around to watching The Forest this week. As far as scary movies go lately, this one was pretty good. MUCH better than The Boy, which was very disappointing.  Now I'm looking forward to Don't Breath coming out next month.

Landon is really in to older cartoons right now, especially The Smurfs.  We love working puzzles, so I've been ordering him some of the old 24 piece puzzles on ebay. I just ordered this one today. I can't wait til it gets here. I've got a few other items in my watch list that I'm going to get him for his birthday. 

We've been spending a lot of time at the pool this summer. I spend most of my time lounging on this Float and Roll Air Mat that I found for just $6 at Dollar General. It's so easy to take back and forth and not at all bulky.  I like to pretend I look super graceful climbing up on it. I got the green one and it's such a pretty color.

Since it's going to be so hot this weekend, I'm closing out with a refreshing punch recipe I found over at Christine's Cuisine.  My sister and I never miss a chance to make punch and I know we'll enjoy this over the weekend. Definitely a refreshing treat on a hot day! 

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