Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Recap + Recipe For Homemade Blueberry Muffins

We had such a good weekend!  It was the perfect kick off to the summer season.  We spent our days at the pool, our evenings cooking out with friends, eating every meal outside, running around barefoot, and breaking out the first boxes of sparklers for the summer.  Everyone was smiling, smelling of sunshine, sunscreen, and bug spray (ugh, already) and it made me so eager to wrap up the school year and settle into the more laid back days of summer. (Only one and a half more weeks to go!!)

On Saturday night, we had dinner with a group of friends.  The two hosts are neighbors whose backyards adjoin by a gate that remains open.  Two large grills handled the food prep and long tables were set up casually for buffets and seating.  The food was delicious and the big group of children all played (happily) together for hours on end.  Once it was dark one of the houses set up an outdoor movie screen (old white sheet and bungee cords) and Andrew showed his stop motion films before they settled on a longer movie.  The adults gathered around a fire pit and we all stayed up well past our bedtimes.

Here is a phone pic I posted on Instagram.  It was such sweet sight, the kids all sweaty and a little dirty from playing outdoors, all entranced in Andrew's films, eating popsicles - childhood the way you wish it were all the time.

Sunday was another pool day and dinner with some of our best friends at our home.  Again, super casual, it's one of (if not the best) the things I love most about summer entertaining. Popsicles become perfectly acceptable desserts and the grill in the main vehicle for cooking. Charlie was out by 6:45 PM that night and slept till 7:30 the next morning.  Party animal!

Monday we watched C march with his TBall team in our village memorial day parade (aka, the smallest and fasted parade in the country) but still very cute in a way only small town parades can be.  The weather was spectacular all weekend making everything take on that magical carefree summer feeling.  I also managed to get all my tomatoes and herbs planted and I'm crossing my fingers for a more successful growing season this summer.   I promise to share patio and garden pics soon.  My hydrangeas should be in bloom any day now and I'll be excited to share them with you.

We ended the long weekend grilling homemade pizzas for just the four of us.  This is a new endeavor for me, so I'm trying some different recipes and techniques.  When I feel like I've got a perfected system down, I will share it with you.  Promise that I won't wait all summer.  :)

One recipe I am eager to share now is this one for blueberry muffins.  From this book.  I've made them several times since I checked out the cookbook from the library last month and it is pretty much the perfect blueberry muffin recipe.  Loaded with berries.  They were the perfect start to our long weekend and didn't last very long.  They come together so quickly.  I can already imagine making them this summer when we are in Cape Cod after a morning walk to the nearby Satucket Farm, maybe with blackberries or raspberries or a combination of all three.  Can you tell I was just finalizing our summer plans last week.  I have New England on the mind!  Hope all of you enjoyed the long weekend as well!  Here's to summer!!

Homemade Blueberry Muffins 
(recipe source)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 eggs (preferably organic)
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar, divided (I used coarse, sparking sugar to top the muffins before baking)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 375.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.  Whisk butter, eggs and milk in a bowl.  Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in another bowl.  Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients; fold in blueberries.  Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (batter will be thick, I use style of this ice cream scoop, I usually end up with 15 muffins); sprinkle tops with remaining 1 tsp granulated sugar (or use sparking sugar).  Bake until muffins are golden and a knife comes out clean, 25-20 minutes.  Serve warm.  (They freeze well too.  Just reheat in microwave.)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Summer Fashion | Maxi Dresses

Thanks to your kind words and encouragement, I feel slightly less awkward attempting another fashion post.  Actually, I've had several requests to do more, especially with easy to wear, yet still cute, for the typical mom, kind of clothes.  So when one of the owners of Kika (a mother/daughter California based company making eco-friendly clothes) contacted me asking if I'd be willing to try out their clothes, I jumped at the chance.

Today I'm posting pics of two of their maxis, one is slightly more of a date dress than a pick-up-the-kids- from-school dress yet both are incredibly comfy and easy to wear but flattering and pretty too.  I like having clothes that feel so good on you don't rush to take them off and trade them out for yoga pants when you walk through the door.  These feel so great, you'll have to resist not sleeping in them.

  ^^ this dress is my favorite item in their spring/summer line^^

The cotton is the softest ever and great quality (comparable to Boden in thickness).  It is a bit shorter than some of my other maxis making it a little more practical.  I don't think I could wear heel with it, which is fine because I never wear heels when I'm home with my kids during the week, and rarely when I go out either.  I wore this dress to a dinner party on Saturday night with a cream cardigan and a big chunky wooden bead necklace, without the belt.  You can also fold the top down to make it a maxi skirt, which I'd wear with a tank.  It stayed in place all evening, a BIG bonus for me with strapless dresses! I'd be just as comfortable wearing this for a typical day with my boys as I would for a date night.  Every summer I have one piece that I wear to death and this will likely be it this summer.

^^ The next maxi is dressier feeling (probably b/c it is black), even though it is still cotton and just as comfortable.  Like wearing PJs. ^^

^^Sorry, these pics are a bit out of focus and over exposed.  My photographer (aka Jimmy) is still 
a bit baffled by my camera, but learning.  This dress has a racer back style in the back. and the belted waist sits just at the spot that makes it flattering when you are both standing and sitting.  This dress also comes in stripes, which I love, but it was out of stock a couple weeks ago.  It will be restocked. ^^ 

^^ the hat is from Anthro.  It's going back b/c it swallows me whole, but looked cute in a picture. :) Trying to mix up the one hand on hip, two hands on hips poses.^^

^^This dress is a bit longer than the first too.  I'm wearing 2" wedges in the pic.^^

(sizing info. I'm 5'7" in the striped maxi I'm wearing a Size 1 (which is like a 2-4), and in the black dress I'm wearing a Size 0 (which is like a 0-2).


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Tea

^^ such a relaxed + natural smile! ^^

The very best part of my Mother's Day Tea at Charlie's school was how absolutely, positively, completely overjoyed he was to shower me with love and attention.  They had been working on their gifts and special songs for the last few weeks, he was so proud to share them with me.  He of course thought the whole affair should have been called Mother's Day Punch, because that is what they served as the drink.  He kept asking if I was having "the best day ever?" He pretty much uses that expression whenever he is having fun.  He picked out my blue dot dress (his current favorite color), the night before and asked that I please not go to the gym in the morning so that I wouldn't be all sweaty when I arrived.   He wore his "handsome clothes" and a giant smile that pretty much only disappeared when the camera was on him.  I purposefully didn't snap many photos so I could soak up every minute.  I did manage to video tape their songs on my phone while I was watching them, it gets a little shaky here and there especially when I start clapping.  He is staring right at me and warned me not to cry otherwise he's have to stop singing.  

I wish all of you Mamas, Mamas-To-Be, Grandmas and Great Grandmas a very special day on Sunday.  May you feel extra loved.  And for all of you missing someone on Mother's Day, my heart goes out to you.  I know there was sad news in the blogging community this past week over a mama's tragic loss of her young son and closer to home, a mother in my neighborhood passed away, both such painful reminders that we are all vulnerable to the twists and turns of life.  That we must love as fiercely as we can, as long as we are able.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

My Littlest, Who's Not So Little Anymore

I am painfully aware that there are only 2 weeks left of Charlie's preschool years.   It seems hard to believe when he's skipping alongside me each morning, holding my hand so tight, that we are down to the final days of what has been our morning routine for the last three years.  Sometimes I catch a glimpse of him and have to do a double take; that long legged, big boy can't possibly be mine.

I am so grateful for all the one on one time we've had together.  It has gone by far too fast though, and I desperately wish that next year wasn't all day, every day, Kindergarten.  We've already made plans for a weekly lunch date.  I want his hands to stay chubby and small, for his little voice to stay raspy and high pitched, for him to take a "nuffie" (stuffed toy) in the car each morning so that I can give it a funny voice and he can ask it all sorts of ridiculous questions, I want my walls filled with hand print art, and I want him to stay innocent and mine.  I don't want to tell him just how much I'll miss him, because I know he'd worry about me.  I once told him I missed him so much when he was at preschool each day and he looked at me and said I don't miss you when I'm at school because I'm with my friends, but I'm always so happy to see you when it is over.  And that's really how I want it to be for him.

Early this week, while hugging in the kitchen....

Charlie: "Mama what do you love most about me?"
Me: " You want me to pick just one thing?"
Charlie: "Yes, the thing you love most."

Me: "Well, your hugs are the best ever, and your beautiful brown eyes, and the way you laugh so easily all the time, and make friends with everyone, and try so hard to do your best at new things, the way you care about your big brother..."
Charlie: "Mama, stop, that's more than one thing." (giggle, giggle)

Me: "What do you love most about me?"
Charlie: "When you hug me, your skin because it feels soft, and you smell good."
Me: "That's more than one thing too."
Charlie: "I can't pick just one thing."
Me: "Neither can I , little love, neither can I."

(I'm guessing some Mother's Day project at school likely sparked that question, but none the less it was just about the sweetest moment and I wanted to make sure I captured it. )