Monday, August 31, 2015

Italy: Rome Days 1 + 2 -- Ancient and Baroque Rome

We are still shaking off the jet lag of our recent return from Italy; but, even given the 3 (and 4.15 and 5) am wakings since we landed stateside, one thing is clear: this family has been bitten by the travel bug. We've taken plenty of family trips, internationally even, but never just the four of us. In fact, as we sat waiting for our plane to take off, it dawned on Joel and I that we had never all been together (by ourselves) for a period as long as 10 days. Fingers crossed, we tried to convince the kids to go to sleep (bwhahaha).

Friday, August 28, 2015

Weekend Makes

Whether they consider themselves lucky or unlucky, plenty of kiddos have already started back to school this past week. Our loves still have another week of summer break left, but given that I'm ready (so, so ready) for school to get going, we've got a weekend full of back-to-school makes all set up.
1 / I love the idea of having kids doing a self-portrait at the beginning of the school year and another at the end. These Paul Klee inspired ones are fab. 2 / A perfect DIY notebook3 / We still use the DIY backpack name tags we made last year. 4 / I've seen lots of freezer paper stenciled shirts, but these include a great typographic template for free! 5 / Such a cute way to use up leftover paint from summer.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Project 52 -- Week 34

My seaworthy crew after an amazing (arguably the most amazing) day of our Italian vacation. We just landed back in town yesterday and will have all the deets on our wonderful trip starting next week. Until then, this was our sun-kissed, Tyrrhenian Sea-swimming pair after a looooong day of coastal hopping.

Monday, August 24, 2015

DIY Sprinkle Ice Cream Cones!

This summer break is a full two weeks longer than last year's and man, I. Am. Feeling. It. But we're keeping our chins up and celebrating the almost-end-of-summer with a little DIY. Because sprinkles make everything better. Head over to Honest to Nod to check out this simple way to celebrate the end of the season!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Project 52 -- Week 33

Their "enough pictures, mom!" looks. I'm pretty sure I responded with an appropriate: "I took you to Italy, so I'll take as many pictures as I want" look.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"Back to School" Readying with The Land of Nod and Paper Source!

Anyone else ready for school to be back in session!? My guys were in serious need of some order and thanks to The Land of Nod and Paper Source, we've been able to start getting them back on track. You could call it bribery, I prefer positive reinforcement. And, also, whatever the heck works. Head over to the Paper Source blog to see how we got pumped for gobs of jobs!

A Day in the Life (August 2015)

July was such a cluster that we couldn't get it together to photograph our 12-in-12. I don't know that August has been much better so far, but I did manage to take our photos this month. This was the kids last week of camp and I think everyone was glad for it. They did a morning soccer camp, which they LOVED but basically made me run around like a madwoman in between drop-off and pickup. But it was nice to have the afternoons back together.

7.20 am -- real coffee with real milk (yes to the end of no dairy for a while!). 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Favorite Back-to-School Backpacks!

You know I love a good virtual shopping session and I have been chomping at the bit to get the kids back to school going on back-to-school shopping! For the first year ever, my loves are going to be re-using their same backpacks from last year (quality purchases pay sometimes!). But I always love starting school shopping by picking out a brand new pack. So, that's first up on this year's scouting list. Here are our favorites!

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 

5 / 6 / 7 / 8 

9 / 10 / 11 / 12 

13 / 14 / 15 / 16

Friday, August 14, 2015

Weekend Makes

We've got Italy on our minds for this Weekend Makes! We're off soon, but we'll still be whipping up a few of these makes in the meantime. Buon fine settimana!

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Project 52 -- Week 32

I love that they go to soccer camp together. I don't love the 8,000 additional items of gear they need to put on to go. At least they try to help each other though, right?!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Balsamic and Basil Marinated Steak with Red Pepper Pesto + 2 Weeks of Dinners

We've eaten our fair share of steak for dinner over the past few months (you can see our first two months of dinner recipes here and here), but this one is most definitely our family favorite. It's super easy and the kids love helping make the pesto from garden ingredients (the pesto is incredibly delicious on a whole variety of breakfast dishes as well). If you're looking for a new way to grill this last month of summer, I'd give this one a go.

We're headed out on vacation soon, so I wanted to share our recent dinners before we split. Our clean eating is likely to be suspended for a bit, but we'll be back with another month of dinners soon. Enjoy!

Balsamic and Basil Marinated Steak
with Red Pepper Pesto
(slightly adapted from Planks, Love and Guacamole)

Steak Marinade
- 1 lb steak
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder

Red Pepper Pesto
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, packed
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
- 1/4 pistachios
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper

1. Marinate steak in a gallon-sized plastic bag overnight or a minimum of 4 hours.
2. Add all pesto ingredients to food processor and pulse until combined into a pesto texture.
3. Grill steak to desired temperature and top with pesto prior to serving.

*          *          *

2 Weeks of Dinner

Day 1 (M) -- Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Pasta with Lemon Garlic and Sage and roasted brussels sprouts.
Day 2 (T) -- tailgating at soccer game! Bunless burgers, fruit, and veggies.
Day 3 (W) -- Hawaiian Turkey Burgers, Roasted New Potatoes with Garlic, and leftover brussels sprouts.
Day 4 (Th) -- Roasted Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Rice Wraps (I LOVED these and also love making sandwich wraps with collard leaves as well) and leftovers.
Day 5 (F) -- Balsamic and Basil Marinated Steak with Red Pepper Pesto, leftover butternut squash and potatoes.
Day 6 (Sat) -- dinner out (steak and veggies).
Day 7 (Sun) -- Roasted Pork Loin with Grapes, and Apple, Pecan, Bacon + Butternut Squash Hash (this continues to be the only pork dish Joel will eat).

Day 8 (M) -- dinner out -- sort of. I ate only part of my strawberry salad with chicken before Cam had an adverse reaction to some medicine and puked into my hands and then all over me. At the restaurant. A lot.
Day 9 (T) -- Lemon Chicken with Olives, and Honey Balsamic Roasted Veggies (I used parsnips and red onion because it was what we had -- still delish).
Day 10 (W) -- leftovers.
Day 11 (Th) -- Balsamic Marinated London Broil, Maple Roasted Butternut Squash (can you tell we had a lot of squash left!?).
Day 12 (F) -- Italian Baked Eggs (sans cheese and bread), sausage, and a green salad.
Day 13 (Sat) -- out (delicious, and most definitely not Paleo, BBQ)
Day 14 (Sun) -- Sweet Potato Chili (a big fam favorite) and watermelon.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Dip-Dyed S'Mores!!

Happy National S'Mores Day, all! We've had s'mores sitting on our Summer Bucket List all season and when I spied this technicolor take, I knew we had to give it a try. The kiddos were a little impatient (who could blame them), so our colors didn't end up quite as bright, but it was a super fun and colorful take on a traditional treat! Plus, no campfire needed!

Here's what you'll need to make ours:
- gel food colors
- giant marshmallows (these are an actual thing and easier for the kids to hold and dye)
- graham crackers
- choice of chocolate bar

Place a few drops of each food color in separate bowls and add a bit of water. I suggest keeping the diluted color at a level roughly equal to the middle of the marshmallow -- we liked the double-color look the best and it's easiest to do that way. Dip a marshmallow in the color and hold for a minute (or 20 seconds if you're my kids). Flip the marshmallow onto its undipped end to dry -- about 10 minutes (or 20 seconds if you're my kids). Dye the other end of the marshmallow in another color. Set aside to dry for another 10 minutes.

Turn your oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and assemble the s'mores. For our first batch, we did a graham cracker, topped by a marshmallow, and then a bit of chocolate bar. The chocolate ended up melting and sliding off the giant mallow, so we recommend putting the s'mores together as: graham cracker + chocolate bar + marshmallow. Place them under the broiler for just about 1 - 1 1/2 minutes. Top with another graham cracker and go to town.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Weekend Makes

We're gearing up for a big family vacation so I have travel on my mind! From the planning stages, to the actual travel, to documenting our trip, we have a looooong list of things to make. Here are a few of our favorites!

1 / I have a few travel-size magnetic games for the kids, but I think they'd love these silly personalized faces 2 / I don't know how neat these would turn out, but the kids would love to stamp some custom luggage tags 3 / I've been trying to figure out a good way to bring good paints with us and this just might be it! 4 / love the idea of incorporating the kids' art into DIY travel journals 5 / this memory map would be such a fun way to document our family travels! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Project 52 -- Week 31

Joel has been traveling and working like a maniac lately, and so the kids are almost as sick of me as I am of them. Thus they've developed a weekday morning freakout when he is in town and heads off to work. Everyone needs a thousand and fifteen hugs and kisses from him, they cling to him as he tries to walk outside, and they wail from the front porch as he leaves. It all makes my attempts to get them actually ready for the day super easy. Not. But it's so damn cute even I can't get mad (sort of). Plus that's like at least 3 minutes that they aren't fighting with each other.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer Pool Party Ideas!

Growing up, I always loathed the fact that my own birthday was in summer -- I felt like because we were out of school, I didn't get quite the same fanfare as I wanted. People were on vacation, friendships dwindled, and it was just too darn hot out. Now, neither of my kiddos have summer birthdays and I SO wish they did. It seems so much easier to have a fab pool party instead of trying to coordinate indoor parties during the school year. Perhaps I can persuade one of them to celebrate their spring or fall birthday in the summer heat next year .... I'm thinking one of these super fun (and a bit random) pool party ideas might do the trick!

1 Cam would flip for a flamingo pool party / 2 is there anything more random and fabulous than a soft pretzel party!? / 3 we are all watermelon-obsessed this summer and this is such an awesome graphic party/ 4 August is the perfect month for a "Dog Days of Summer" party / 5 both of my kiddos were serious surfers all summer long -- a perfect pool party idea!

Monday, August 3, 2015

2015 Summer Bucket List Update #2

July was a total whirlwind -- between camp and lots of travel, we just didn't get to go at our Summer Bucket List like we did in June (see our first update here!). We were monumentally busy, just doing things that weren't on our list -- LOTS of beach time, taking family to see favorites places, adjusting to new camps, etc. And even though "back to school" talk has already piped up, we're looking at another whole month of summer fun. In the meantime, here are the few additional activities we knocked off our list.

33. Dye hair -- Cam got some temporary hot pink streaks, which were fabulous.