Friday, August 25, 2017

The Sun. A Birthday. And Summer Ends.

This week was pretty cool. I'm dubbing it a week of celebrations. We celebrated a birthday. We (kind of) celebrated the sun. We "celebrated" getting ready for back to school. One is celebrating her last year of high school and one celebrating his first year of high school. I think we use the word celebrate loosely from their perspective. I do not :) I am literally celebrating these kids are FINALLY going back to school.

The week started off with a pretty big spectacular for everyone, didn't it? We did our own little make shift Eclipse party on the lawn. Which equated to ice cream and lawn chairs. We didn't have fancy glasses or travel long distances. We lucked out to be pretty close to the totality pathway. It did get fairly dim, similar to what it looks like an hour before dusk. And the temperature (aka Humidity) dropped quite a bit. I loved that!

Another reason the solar eclipse day was so special... the birthday boy. Nothing more cool than having the whole USA get excited about your day. We got excited about his day too. He got all his favorite things: food and money. We took him to the trampoline park to add to the celebration.

Midweek, we got all the school stuff to prepare for this year. Shoes, supplies, a new outfit, and a new backpack for the girl who always manages to break her backpack by December. If you have a good solid backpack brand to recommend PLEASE leave in the comments. I need an extra heavy duty one for sure!

Mid-week we had back to school night and a pool party. This was our 3rd pool party this summer, but our first that didn't get rained out. We had a clear skies and the perfect temperature to enjoy swimming.

I also took a morning to enjoy a walk on the beach solo. I have a house full of late sleepers, so I can be there and back before they are moving. Next week is going to be so very hard for them!

Opps, I forgot to mention what these pictures are all about. The sea turtle eggs are hatching all over the island and this is what it looks like when it's time. They protect them as much as they can from people and predators. They also make these long "runways" to the ocean for when they are ready to go. A nest had hatched the previous night which I was so sad to have missed. What a once in a lifetime thing to sea baby turtles make their way to the ocean!

I have all the love for this weekend because it's going to be sunshine and low humidity.
It's every Southerners dream!
 Cheers to the weekend!

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Brushing Up On History At Moore's Creek Battlefield

"Why was there a Revolutionary War battle in North Carolina?" I scrunched up my face as I asked my soon to be freshman. "Because it was one of the 13 colonies." What the heck?!? How did this information escape me. A prime example of if-you-don't-use-it-you-lose! I honestly thought the original colonies were all up in the New England area. Nope, the colonies extended all the way south to Georgia. For those of you who also didn't remember that... you're welcome!

After my faltering moment, I decided it's time to brush up on some American History pre-Civil War. So, I will be working on that! Until then, I am going to be checking out all these historic battlefields around us and not assuming they are Civil War battlefields. Because apparently, North Carolina is really old, so it's seen a fair share of wars. 

Moore's Creek National Battlefield is our closest battlefield in the Wilmington located 40 minutes east. This is the place where a key Revolutionary War battle was fought in North Carolina to end British authority over the colony and initiate NC's desire for independence from Britain. This was the first colony to do this #bigdeal or #traitors

No matter how you paint it, the battlefield is lovely and a paved 1 mile trail loops you around to see all the sites. It was a really nice outing and we (which really means I) learned something!

Here is the "famous" Moore's Creek bridge. Famous for what, you ask?
I don't know :( I'm still working on my history knowledge.
It's a really neat pathway through the swamp with all the trees canopying around. 

I've included the link HERE for more information on Moore's Creek National Battlefield.
It's definitely a great way to see history in a tangible way. I do love that for my kids (and myself too) about living in North Carolina. This is where America began so it's all very accessible on the East Coast. You just need to go see it :)

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Recipes I Love And You Might Too

Another dreary, rainy summer day here on the coast. Between all the storms and hurricanes, we can not escape grey clouds. I don't mind the rain but it sure does not feel like summer. Our grill is taking a much needed break while we have been enjoying all the comfort food that accompanies cozy weather. Today I'm sharing our favorites from our week of meals. These are all worth adding to your menu ASAP. I wouldn't steer you wrong!

Sometimes, I am in the mood to cook and other nights I am not. When I'm working I want recipes that are simple and on the table quickly. Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni by Foodie Crush will be that dish.  I was a little hesitant after seeing ketchup in the ingredient list; however, it's not overpowering. This was a winner with the kids! And husband.

One Pot Lasagna by Jo Cooks is another quick favorite in our home. One dish meals are definitely easy and filling for my teens' tummies. I need meals to be both :) We didn't make One Pot Lasagna this week but it's a favorite I thought I should add. 

Lentil Chili by Little Broken is one of my favorites and not so much my kiddos favorite. I would call this a grownup meal :) It's nutritious and on the cheap side. Which who doesn't love a little break on the grocery bill? Lentil Chili takes about 40 minutes from start to finish. You can't do wrong. Plus, if you are into meat free nights, this fits the description.

Mexican Shredded Beef by Your Home Based Mom is in our weekly rotation and has been for months! We still argue who gets the leftovers. I make the shredded beef with a slow cooker and it is perfect every time. This recipe is so fool proof. If I don't have an ingredient or two, I never worry. I always brown the meat in hot oil before moving to the slow cooker. You shouldn't skip that step because it gives it that yummy crispiness. 

This next recipe is quite time consuming but so worth it. I made this for Sunday lunch/dinner. We do a double batch because it's necessary ;) We found Authentic Louisianna Red Beans and Rice on in the pre-Pinterest days. We have been loving it ever since! It really is the best recipe for authentic taste. 

And because there must always be dessert, there was a little Peanut Butter Cookie competition this week. Classic Peanut Butter Cookies by Sally's Baking Addiction versus Disneyland's Peanut Butter Cookies by Six Sister's Stuff. I sent these to work with Kyli to share with her co-workers and all the teenage voters unanimously chose....Disneyland's PB cookies. Of course they did :)

I admit I loved the Classic PB cookies more. Disneyland's cookies were much too sweet for me. I know these things are hard to decide for others, so you might need to taste test for yourself!

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Summer Lovin

We have approximately 20 days until school starts for us. While I've always appreciated a job where I'm off with my kids in the summer, I'm finding it's getting to be less necessary. The kids don't need me and most of the time don't want me around. They want their friends and their electronics. And that is the progression of life :) Not a natural progression that they want their electronics ;) but that they are less dependent on me. So, after 17 years, I've thought a lot if this will be the last summer I am home with them. There will be lots of decisions as we move on to our 'forever home' next summer. 

Today I thought we could talk about summer. I was reading my Bloglovin' feed and found the cutest questionnaire on Coast To Coast blog. I'm such a fan of Coast To Coast because I feel like we just swapped homes. She is a Southern girl living in the West while I am a self-proclaimed West Coaster living in the South. I think I can be an honorary WC after 17 years, right? She brings home to me through her posts and pictures.

The questions come from The Blended Blog. In blogging world, these types of linkups are just fun social things bloggers do to connect or add lighthearted conversation to the blog. Which means we LOVE it when you respond in the comments with answers of your own. So, here we go:

Pool, lake, or ocean? Ocean, of course! Our military life has always placed us near an ocean. It's part of our life :) 

Camping, cottage, or hotel? I think I could do a cottage but I know I'm a hotel person for sure.

Favorite ice cream flavor? Praline Pecan. It has to have the sugar coating to be my favorite.

Pjs, Nightgown, T-shirt/shorts, or Birthday suit? Pjs

Fave summer beverage? Margaritas are the perfect summer beverage. I don't drink them nearly enough in the summer!

Would you rather be hot or cold? Cold. Here is my theory on hot vs cold. I can always layer up when it's cold but there isn't much I can do when it's hot. However, I'm not about to move to a cold winter climate. Everytime I go to Iowa in the Fall and Winter I remember 'Those days are gone'!

Sandals with heel or flats? I love the look of a heel or wedge but let's be honest, I'm always in a flip flop!

Shorts or Skirts? Shorts

Sit in the sun or the shade? Sit in the shade

Water, tea, or soda? Water

Fave Summer Fruit/Vegetable? Tomatoes, I definitely take advantage of summer tomatoes. I can name a thousand different ways I fix them. Just like Bubba's shrimp in Forest Gump :)

Sunrise or Sunset? Sunset all the way! Although, I should really make a point to see a sunrise on the East Coast, huh?

Bike Ride or Walk? I can not decide. Both are my favorites!

Winery or brewery? If you know me or read this blog, you can answer that question! I think I've posted no less than 20 winery tours on this blog over the years. HERE are my favorites...

Garden or no garden? No garden. I don't mind picking the produce or preparing it, but I'm no good at planting, weeding, or watering. 

Big summer concert or Music in the park? Summer concert

Fave Cookout Food? Potato salad or Baked Beans. No need to get healthy at a cookout.

Dine indoors or patio? Patio. I miss eating outside now that we moved to where all the bugs live :(

Fave summer destination? Anywhere!

Big theme park or carnival? Big theme park

Drinks blended or on the rocks? Blended

Popsicle or freeze flavor of choice? Strawberry

Hot dog or hamburger? Hamburgers. I can only eat hot dogs if they are burnt on the grill and covered in mustard. 

What are some of your favorite summer things? Are you an outdoors person or do you prefer the A/C?

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Old Friends. August Reads. And Bike Rides.

This picture illustrates all my feelings about the weekend. Let me climb on your shoulders and shout my excitement! I'm not even sure why I crave the weekend like I do. I'm at home every day...not working. I think I just like having everyone together and enjoying the sun!

I have a fun story to share with you about the picture above. We were neighbors with the child in the photo on Camp Pendleton in 2012-2013. This past year he showed up in one of my classes I subbed in. I was floored. His mom and I connected and we finally met up last week. It was great to have a familiar person to hang with for the afternoon. I love these military stories. They seem so unlikely, yet, it happens so flawlessly!

My August reading list is making me very happy. When I posted my Mid-Year update earlier this week, I didn't know how I felt about reading in August. I've been borderline burned out with books this summer. I'm averaging about 2-3 books a month which is pretty low for me. I looked over the books I read in so far in 2016 and they are sort of depressing. My books have mostly been about slavery or murder or death in some capacity. While those were all excellent books, how could I not feel a little depressed over the subject matter? 

This month, I am going much much lighter. I picked up a few books based on suggestions from Everyday Reader and Mix and Match Mama bloggers. I also picked up another Blake Crouch book because I thought Dark Matter was pretty great! Did you read Dark Matter?

Speaking of books, the Little Free Library my husband made in May is doing really well. This week some sweet sweet neighbor dropped off this book/movie combo of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Of course, a lucky person quickly swooped it up only a day or two later. It has been fun to host the Little Free Library and keep up with all the comings and goings :)

My lovely daughter convinced me to paint the Little Free Library with chalk so she could always decorate it for me. Well, if you know teenagers, that lasted one time. Now it's my job :) I do not pride myself on artsy creativity. I'm more of an idea person. But when you have to... you do what you can (with Pinterest)!

We are continuing our bike rides while the weather has been giving us a much needed break from humidity. Our street goes one mile back through a forest near a pond. It is the best little ride for us to end the day. We have been doing the bike ride every night for a couple weeks. Maybe, I can blog that for you to see sometime soon.

Cheers to the weekend!

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