Tag Archives: summer

Happy Weekend!

I have MAJOR changes coming to the blog next week, but for now I’m going to relax and enjoy the last weekend of summer with the hubs and my girls. I hope you get to do the same!
xo

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My Week Through Instagram

This was the longest week everrrr. No, really.

Samantha was knocked out with a mystery illness that started last Monday. When she was still running a high fever on Wednesday, I took her to the doctor where they could find nothing wrong with her aside from the fever.

Listening to their instructions, we headed back into the office on Friday (that’s us and her new polar bear in the waiting room) for blood work since the fevers hadn’t let up. Still unsure what was up, they tested her for a bunch of things including Lyme disease and West Nile virus.

Cue a weekend-long waiting game. On Saturday they told us her white blood cell count was good and they thought it was a virus. Slight breath of relief.

Since my girl couldn’t do much of anything we spent most of the week playing games. Zingo is one of her favorites (she likes to tell everyone that it’s “Bingo with a zing!”). We had to rapidly throw any chips we couldn’t use at Ellie to make sure little Godzilla didn’t tear our boards apart. She wanted to play so badly!

Come Monday my poor girl was no better. We headed back to the doctor for a physical and a follow up. This time, we saw her actual pediatrician who immediately asked me if she had been coughing when he listened to her lungs. Babycakes has pneumonia.

I never thought I’d be glad to hear that, but it was so nice to know what was going on and what we could do to make her feel better. We picked up her prescription and headed home for more games.

Side note for anyone who doesn’t have children: if you ever decide to have any, they are the perfect excuse to start playing your favorite childhood games again. We’re playing Old Maid here.

When we got bored of games, we turned to coloring. Samantha got a couple of huge coloring books for Christmas and they really came in handy this week. We both worked on this one–with a few stray scribbles from the Ellie monster.

And lest you think my little bean was all subdued and well behaved because she knew her big sister wasn’t feeling well, think again. Miss Elyssa loved having more opportunity for trouble. “Oh, momma is taking Sammie’s temperature? Perfect time to hop in the sink!”

Ellie also seriously enjoyed her first tastes of chocolate pudding. Believe me, I don’t start out with the intention of letting her get filthy. On the contrary, I really tried to feed her myself. But this girl is stubborn. When she wants something she will make a big stink until she gets it. And you know what? Pudding doesn’t cause any harm. I let her go crazy.

As wild as my little one can be, she’s also the sweetest most cuddly little thing. Shots like this are why she’ll continue to get away with murder!

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Transitioning to Fall

Summer: Forever21 shorts / Tinley Road chevron necklace / Old Navy tami (tank + cami) / Guess flip flops / Fall layers: Old Navy cardigan / Forever21 layered necklace / Forever21 striped knit tights / Steve Madden oxfords

One of my favorite things about fall is the layers that go along with it. As it slowly gets cooler, we pile on more and more pieces to stay warm–which means we really get to experiment with what’s inside our closets.

The look I put together here is the perfect example of what I mean. It’s a mish mash (which, I’ll have you know, is a seriously technical term) of some of the most versatile pieces you could own.

If you’re trying to save some money, there’s no reason to run out and buy a whole new wardrobe for fall. Instead, shop your closet and add fall colors and textures to your summer faves. Think chunky knits and jewel tones mixed with some of summer’s bright colors. Cobalt is one of the best transitional colors. It goes as well with summer’s carefree tropical palette as it does with fall’s deeper jewel tones.

I am seriously cheap and trying to get on a tight budget, so I will most definitely be using this little tip in the coming weeks. In fact, if I invest in anything this fall it will probably just be a pair of oxfords. I’m kind of obsessed.

How do you transition to cooler temperatures? Are there any pieces that are on your must-have list this fall?

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DIY: Kids Boredom Buster Jar

I mentioned last week that I put together a little Bored Jar inspired by a few different projects I saw on Pinterest (just searching “boredom busters” there brings up an endless array of ideas for any age group). I thought it would be fun to give you a little peek at our jar and some of the things Samantha has done with it.
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My Week Through Instagram


Last week was the first of three weeks before going back to school where Samantha has no activities. We have some things to cross off of our summer bucket list, but otherwise we have no schedule.

Let’s just say Miss Samantha works better with a schedule. She constantly needs something to keep her occupied. It’s just her personality. This shot was taken after I threw some sheets at her and told her to make a tent while I ran downstairs to do some laundry.

Ellie took her first train ride this week! She loved it. As soon as it started moving she yelled “Weeeeeee!” The rest of the ride into Manhattan was spent playing tic-tac-toe with Sam while Ellie climbed up and down off the seats like they were the best jungle gym ever invented.

We were going into the city to meet Tim’s parents at the Museum of Natural History (one of the items on our summer bucket list). The girls absolutely loved it. In fact, there are hardly any pictures of them from our visit that aren’t just a big blur from them running from one thing to the next.

The picture above is from the African mask exhibit, which is pretty awesome.

This shot is not from Instagram but from my mother-in-law’s phone. I had to share it for a few reasons. First, I needed to show proof that at times I carried my chunky little monkey around in what I couldn’t stop referring to as a papoose. Second, that I actually got her to take a nap while walking around the museum (thanks to the darkened bioluminescence exhibit). And last, to show off my little fashionista’s style. Please note her two sparkly purple headbands and her watch. The only thing missing from this shot is her sparkly sneakers.

You know a trip was successful when Samantha declares that she thinks she might take a nap (she never naps). She got comfy on the train using her new stuffed polar bear as a pillow.

The next day, my husband had a rare Friday off so we packed up the chickadees and headed to the pool. Samantha was thrilled to show off her swimming skills to Daddy while he was thrilled to splash me with the freezing water. Brat.

The quality of this picture is especially terrible, but I had to show it. It’s my mom’s driver’s license from the 80s, when she was my age now. The resemblance is a little freaky!

Last but not least, here is my monster caught in the act yet again. There was a bag of chips left over from a game night we had with friends that was tucked away on the side of the counter. Of course Ellie found it and dug right in. This is her trying to share a chip with me when she knew she was busted. That chip was in her mouth before the photo even registered.

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Get the Look: Kate Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale has been looking amazing on her Total Recall publicity tour. Seriously amazing. My absolute favorite look so far has been an H&M/Diane von Furstenberg combo that she wore for interviews in Dublin.

While the skirt is kind of a weird length, it’s my only complaint about this look. I love the top tucked in and loosely draping over the waist of the fitted skirt. It’s a gorgeous silhouette. But my favorite part about this look is the color combo. It’s bright and cheery and so incredibly summery. I want it in my closet!

office: H&M sleeveless blouse, ModCloth skirt | date: ModCloth dress, Michael Antonio heels | errands: Mossimo Supply Co. tank, Mossimo Supply Co. shorts

Are you as obsessed as I am?

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My Week Through Instagram

Last week was Sam’s last at camp for the summer. And I have to tell you, Ellie showed off the drama lessons she’s taken from her sister. On more than one occasion I found her looking at pictures of her sister and pouting (this one doesn’t really count because she’s going through an album of Sam’s baby pictures, but still). On one particular occasion she pouted before cooing at the photo and kissing her sister. The cuteness factor was just about unbearable.

When she wasn’t being equal parts cute and dramatic, she was terrorizing me. She learned that she can push chairs around this week (sidenote: the girl is strong. She was leisurely wandering around the house with my five-pound weight ball the other day, calling me to make sure I saw). Her new favorite activity is pushing the chair up against the counter and breaking into the massive pretzel container we keep there. She likes to take a bite out of one and then put it back in and look for one that might taste better. She also likes to stash them in the KitchenAid mixer that sits on the counter.

We got some cousin time in on Saturday. This is one of the few times these two were smiling. I swear, they’re like brother and sister. They miss the crap out of each other when they’re not together but they are at each other’s throats when they’re reunited.

Side note: I love the little devil plotting her next move in the background.

Sams had a birthday party this weekend. She’s very much into creating her own wrapping paper, which is fine by me! Boredom fighting activity + inexpensive supplies = fabulous in my book.

Speaking of cheap boredom busters, I put together a little Pinterest-inspired boredom jar on Sam’s last day of camp. That morning, all I heard was how bored she was and how there was nothing to dooooo. I had visions of hearing nothing but that phrase for the next three weeks, so I had to do something about it. Thus, my little jar of boredom busters was born.

We had planned on going to the pool yesterday, but it was all dreary and rainy so we had to turn to The Jar. It’s filled with little popsicle sticks that have fun little activities on them (more on this soon, I promise). She picked one that said “design your own t-shirt” and was absolutely dumbfounded. She could do such a thing?!

I pulled out an over-sized white t-shirt and some fabric markers and let her go to town. I’ll post a photo of her finished product soon!

Last but not least, here’s my little bean out cold–presumably dreaming of ways to make us laugh and scare the pants off her poor mother.

For more shots of our week, follow me @atouchoflovely!

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Handmade Haven: Summer Artwork

Samantha’s last day of summer camp was last Friday, which is making the onslaught of fall seem all the more real. I’m not really ready for cooler temperatures and structured schedules. I’m enjoying the easy breezy summer. I’m finally starting to embrace hair that can’t be tamed and dewy (aka sweaty) skin.

I’m pretty positive that once gloomy winter rears its head, I’m going to be grasping for any bit of summer I can find. That’s why my handmade finds today are all summer-themed works of art. I like the idea of hanging a little masterpiece in the house that I can look at when summer seems way too far away.

Any of these lovely finds would do just the trick…

LouBe Photography

Ana Ramirez Photography

Art by Autumn Rose

Mayan Soffia Photography

Stormscape Studio

Stine Wiemann Photography

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S’more Madness

Did you know that August 10th is National S’more Day? Yeah, I didn’t either, but any excuse to eat chocolate is a good one in my book!

No dessert screams summertime more than s’mores. They automatically bring to mind the crackle and smell of a camp fire (and I almost start swatting away imaginary bugs).

I do get bored of the same old thing though. So I hunted around a little for new interpretations of an old classic. Here are some of the yummy treats I found (click the corresponding description below the picture for recipes!):

1 mini cups via A Wedding Story / 2 cake in a jar via How Sweet It Is/ 3 chocolate covered via Jen Loves Kev / 4 cupcakes via Ai Bake Cake / 5 cookie bars via Lovin’ From the Oven / 6 pie via The New York Times Magazine

My mouth was pretty much watering when I finished this essential “research,” so I decided I absolutely had to make some s’mores for Samantha’s post-camp snack (making one for myself too, obvi). I decided the quickest, coolest and easiest option would be the little chocolate dipped sandwiches. But I decided to do them my own way.

Ingredients:

  • one graham cracker for each sandwich
  • chocolate chips
  • marshmallows
  • olive oil
  • sprinkles

Since it’s so insanely hot out, I was not about to turn on my oven. And forget about an open fire when I’m home alone with my little bean. Lord knows what trouble she’d get us into! Instead, I turned to the next best thing: my toaster oven.

I lined up the ingredients on the tray and baked them at 400°F for a few minutes—as soon as they started smelling roasty and toasty (those are technical terms), I checked on them. When I took them out, they looked like this:

The graham crackers were toasted, the chocolate chips were beginning to melt and the marshmallows were nice and browned. They smelled soooo delicious. Next step? Sandwiching them.

Not thinking (as usual) I grabbed a graham cracker with chocolate chips first and flipped it to put it on top of the marshmallow. Of course, all of my chocolate chips ended up all over the place. It would be smarter to flip the graham cracker with the single sticky ingredient that won’t fly all over the kitchen.

Once we were all sandwiched up, I put the tray in the fridge to cool.

Next up was dipping these yummies in some chocolate. Instead of using a double broiler, I put a couple of handfuls of chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and threw them in the microwave for 45 seconds. If they’re not quite melted enough, keep putting them in for 30 second intervals. Just make sure you watch them carefully. You don’t want burnt chocolate!

Once they were melted enough, I stirred them until smooth (adding a little bit of olive oil to thin it out). Next, I did a combination of dipping my little sandwiches into the chocolate and spooning chocolate into any bare areas. If you’re going to add sprinkles like I did, you don’t have to worry about being all neat and tidy. The sprinkles are pretty and they hide the mess.

Pop them back in the fridge to let the chocolate cool and harden and you’re done! Yummy, toasty s’mores—without the heat.

And for the record, these tasty snacks are most definitely child approved.

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My Week Through Instagram

On Friday night, my brother Tommy had a show at a local coffeehouse. It’s been awhile since he had one and I have to say, he rocked it.

It was sort of a running joke (if you can call it that?) that I would end up crying at every one of his shows while pregnant with Ellie. I joked with my mom early on in the show that we could be sure that I’m not pregnant (don’t worry, I’m not) if I didn’t cry.

Well. I cried. Like a baby. He played a song about our dad that I had never heard before and it was heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time. For those that don’t know, my dad died from brain cancer when I was 14 and Tommy (my youngest sibling) was 8. But that’s a story for another day.

In case you can’t tell, I can’t get enough of this messy face! My friend Janine was telling me this morning that when she showed her husband this picture after I posted it on Instagram, he thought he had already seen it. He hadn’t. She’s just that messy and I just post that many pictures of her messiness. The culprit this time was a blueberry smoothie. She loved it, of course!

My husband worked on Saturday, so the girls and I decided to take a walk that morning before it got too hot. Apparently, leaving our house before 9 wasn’t early enough.

We started out with lots of enthusiasm. Sam brought her binoculars to look for birds. She even jogged a bit. But then we hit a wall. A sweaty, cranky, breathless wall. I ended up carrying her on my back for awhile. She was, however, thrilled to do a little “balance beam” action on a fence we passed. Gymnastics is her favorite Olympic sport, with diving coming in just behind it.

Later that day, we met our buddies at the riverfront for a little festival that was going on. We sweat some more, wandered through booths, had an unsuccessful experience with the bouncy slide (it was way too hot!), and found a craft table. The girls made sculptures while Ben tried to make a little print, which would have been more successful if the ladies running that station were more kid friendly. Still, the kids had a blast. We capped it off by stopping in the delicious bakery that was right by where we found parking. Ellie had (and thoroughly enjoyed) her first linzer tart.

Somewhere in our travels, the girls went headband crazy. Sam started giggling wildly when she put on one of Ellie’s headbands and then we all lost it when Ellie put on this headband, which is oversized on adults (I made it for our bohemian Bijou shoot). Ellie will do just about anything for a laugh–especially one from her big sister!

Last but not least, this one was from yesterday. We decided to go back-to-school shopping at Target after picking Sam up from camp (they’re having crazy good sales this week!). Seems she couldn’t keep those little eyes open after gymnastics and ping pong and bouncy castle jumping and whatever else she did at camp.

Follow along all week @atouchoflovely.

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