Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Friday!

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Whew, what a week?! I'm really looking forward to this weekend.

I've read about Home Away on my favorite blogs. After staying in a hotel shortly after our daughter's first birthday, we decided we will always try to rent a house on vacations (she slept in a portable crib in the bathroom). It's more comfortable and you can prepare meals at home, making it less expensive in some cases. I am drooling over the homes in Key West.

If you have some time this weekend, definitely make these cookies. I have some dough in the freezer that I can't wait to bake. They might be the best cookies ever.

We are having a small 4th of July party. It will be wonderful to watch fireworks from our own backyard and enjoy some delicious food and good company. Any recipes you'd like to share?

Here's Emmerson last July 4th. She's getting so big (tear).

Have a relaxing weekend!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Strawberry picking

Our yard looks amazing, but we’re exhausted after the planting and weeding we did on Saturday. 

Yesterday, we took a break and went strawberry picking at Barthel Fruit Farm. It’s a little late in the season, but the strawberries are still delicious. I highly recommend it for anyone with young children (it was better than apple picking). Emmerson was so into it because she could find and pick the berries herself.

I made strawberry jam using this recipe with far less sugar (our strawberries were so sweet already). And we had strawberries with angel food cake and whipped cream. Tonight, I’m planning to make this salad with dinner. We still have some strawberries left. Do you have a good strawberry recipe?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer skin care

I'm envious when I see women with natural, glowing skin. The kind that comes from a full night's sleep and lots of water. And I don't claim to be an expert in skin care (shamefully, I participated in the tanning bed craze a decade ago). But I have finally found a skin care routine I love and I'm hoping it will give me that summer glow (even if I don't get sleep).

I wash my face with a mild cleanser. I'm currently using Cetaphil, but I've used other brands too.

Then I follow with spray hydrating toner and combination skin moisturizer by Yonka. I LOVE this line of all-natural skin care. I had a Yonka facial a few months ago and the entire week afterwards my skin felt wonderful. Yes…a week! I’ve had a facial before and my skin feels hydrated and smooth that day, but I never had such lasting effects.

In the morning, I use Josie Maran Argan Daily SPF 40. This product is chemical-free and is the only sunscreen I’ve ever used that doesn’t feel greasy.

At night, I use the Clarisonia Mia and follow with a Clinique oil-free night cream.

What are your favorite skin care products for summer?  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The best chocolate chip cookies

I found this recipe on Pinterest a couple weeks ago. After being on vacation and not cooking for a week, I knew this was the perfect recipe to lure me back in the kitchen. 

The biggest problem with these cookies is that the recipe requires you to wait 24-36 hours to bake them...really. I tried to cure my sweet tooth with a popsicle, but by 8:00 last night, I gave in and baked them. And I can't say enough about these cookies!

I made just a couple adjustments: 
I reduced the salt to 1 tsp and sprinkled a little sea salt on the top of each cookie before baking. I tried to make large cookies in the first batch, but the edges were too dark, so I reduced the size (to approximately 1/4 c dough) and the cookies turned out perfectly.

This is the best chocolate chip cookie I've ever baked. Do you have a favorite cookie recipe? Please share it here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Charleston, SC

Today, we're back to reality, but we had a wonderful time in Charleston. The wedding, and all the events leading up to it, were beautiful. And we also tried to squeeze some sightseeing in there. I have always been a fan of city tours (nearly every big city offers them). With a toddler, it's nice to see the sights in one hour.

We took a carriage ride though downtown Charleston. I heard some others took a boat ride tour and I would imagine that was amazing too. 

The historical homes and architecture were my favorite. Last year while in Key West, I learned that people paint their porch ceilings blue (haint blue to be exact) because it was believed to discourage evil spirits from entering, but I learned in Charleston that people continue this tradition because it keeps insects and birds away. If that works, I should be painting our porch ceilings!

And of course, no trip complete without swimming. 

The wedding at Lowndes Grove Plantation was lovely. Our little Emmerson would have stayed all night to dance with her cousins and we love showing her off. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Craft: flower lights

I made these flower lights for Emmerson's bedroom. It's so easy. Cut flowers out of cupcake liners, cut a small "x" in the center of each paper and layer them to make a flower.

These would look adorable wrapped around a bed post or even just sitting on a shelf.

I am signing off for the week. We are headed to Charleston, South Carolina for a wedding. Enjoy the rest of the week and have a lovely weekend.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Day in Port Washington

After our successful outing to Cedarburg a couple weeks ago, we decided to head to Port Washington yesterday. We walked along the boardwalk, watched the kids fishing and went to Tello's for lunch. I still can't figure out exactly what type of restaurant it is - the sign says salads and kebabs, but we were served (good) chips and salsa. So it's Mexican? Well, the Mexican breakfasts we had were delicious as were the pancakes, according to Emmerson.

Afterwards, we headed across the street to get Emmerson her first ice cream on a cone - birthday cake, of course (she's obsessed with birthdays these days). They have mini cones for 50 cents! Is anything 50 cents anymore?! I can't even find the cents sign on my computer!

Another fun family day. I can't imagine a better way to spend a Sunday.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Good morning, veggie smoothie

We have a new favorite smoothie and even better, it contains vegetables. 
1 1/2 c sweetened coconut or soy milk
2 dried apricots
1 banana
1 1/2 c chopped kale (stems removed)
1/2 c spinach
1/2 c frozen berries

Combine ingredients in blender (any blender will do...we use a cheap, circa 90s blender and it does the trick) and blend until smooth.

For those who do not like spinach and/or kale, you do not taste it, trust me. We have been having a smoothie every morning for the last week. To speed up the process, I washed the spinach and kale and put it in individual bags with the apricots, so I just have to add the banana, milk and berries every morning.

And this is one of my favorite pictures of Emmerson drinking a smoothie (she's so happy even with a fever).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The death of manners

I came across this and I had to share it. Above all else, it is so important to us that our daughter has good manners, but I'm worried that our definition of "good" manners has changed.

For example, most weekends, we have a family movie night. We watch a kid movie and snuggle on the couch. At the risk of making myself sound older than I am, I am appalled by what is rated G and PG these days. No swear words are off limits in PG movies and the use of idiot, stupid, dumb, etc. are common in G movies. Is it wrong that I don't think a two-year-old needs to be exposed to this? I'm not naive to the fact that she will probably learn all of these words in preschool, but at least then, she will be at an age when I can explain to her why we don't use those words.  Currently, there is no rationalizing with this two-year-old.

We don't want to lose our family movie nights, but we have to stick to G movies and may even have to preview any questionable ones.

And on election day, I have to share this too. Don't the political attack ads just make you sad?! And don't get me started on celebrities...

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