Friday, July 27, 2012

Shutterfly's Long Live Summer Facebook Photo Contest!

I used to be the queen of pictures. I never went anywhere without my point and shoot in my purse, and documented pretty much my entire college experience for most of my friends. This tradition continued for years after college, pretty much up until our wedding. Once our wedding hit, and I actually had someone else there taking beautiful pictures for me, something happened, and I just wasn't as glued to my camera as I used to be.

It is my plan to get back into the swing of documenting our life through pictures before we start our family, so that I'm already in a rhythm once babies come along. But, have you ever been away on vacation and just wished you had someone there to take pictures of you and your family without you having to do anything?

I think we all have, and we're in luck!



Thanks to Shutterfly, you can be entered for the chance to win a Bahamas Vacation (for 4), AND a professional photo shoot to help you savor the memories forever. 
How do you enter? It's simple!
  • Upload your favorite photo with a caption based on that week's theme
  • You can earn gifts from Shutterfly just for entering
  • You can enter once each week for the remainder of the contest!

Just use this link to visit the Shutterfly Facebook Contest page and get started! And use the below themes to enter once each week!
  • Week 3 (7/23): Water Fun 
  • Week 4 (7/30): Sports & Activities
  • Week 5 (8/6): Parties & Celebrations

 For more on the official rules, click here.



** I was compensated with a promotion code for an 8x8 hardcover photobook for writing this post.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

DIY Summer 'Berry Wreath'

When I was a kid, my Mom had a small, side business where she made dry and silk flower arrangements and sold them at gift shows and sometimes, from our house. I have vivid memories of wondering how she could fill up so many hours making wreaths and topiaries. And, don't even get me started on what I used to think of Michael's. It's funny how things change, isn't it?

Ever since I joined Pinterest, I can't help but be intrigued, and often determined, to complete as many DIY projects as possible. Which, I'm sure you can gather from the slew of them that have already been displayed here. 

On one of my more recent trips to Hobby Lobby (which, might I add, was over two months ago, and that makes me very sad), I decided to pick up a simple, twig wreath and some green berry sprigs, and thought I'd wait until the mood struck to one day to put this new project together. Well, that day happened about two weeks ago. The finished product is probably one of the quickest, easiest and most adorable projects I've completed to date! 


Summer Berry Wreath DIY 'How-To'

What You'll Need:
One (1) twig wreath in the size of your choice (I used an 8 or 10 inch)
3-4 branches of green berry sprigs (or go with another color if you want!)
Glue gun & glue sticks
Over-the-door wreath hanger or ribbon for hanging


Begin by cutting the individual springs of berries off of the branch. I cut mine into about 3 inch sections.

Then, just begin gluing your sprigs down onto the wreath. Continue this process until your wreath is as full as you'd like it to be, or you run out of berries :o)

The finished product will look something like this ...


I love how simple and summery this wreath is, and snagged an adorable, new wreath hanger at Target and hung it on the inside of of the french door in our kitchen!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

So What Wednesday - One of My Favorite Parts of the Week!

It's been a few weeks since I've linked up with Shannon, and I'm definitely in the mood to get some 'So What's' off of my chest!




This week, I'm saying 'So What!' if ...
  • We haven't been to the beach all summer, but I have a few one or two night trips lined up in August, and I am NOT looking forward to getting back into a bikini. So? I've decided to join in on the fun and start up Shannon's 30 Day/300 Ab Challenge. Heck, I think I'll even ask B to join me - the couple that does the ab challenge together, stays together?! :o)
  • I am feeling completely burnt out right now. Between traveling, working, taking care of the house, keeping up with friends and a host of other things, today I just felt like I had reached the end of my rope. I think a day or two of just 'detaching' is in order and will have me feeling back to normal in no time!
  • I have no less than four Lifetime movies saved on my DVR. I can't help but get sucked into them. I see the previews, and then just can't help myself. And, if they're based on true stories? It's a done deal.
  • I am SO excited for the NFL season to start that I can barely contain myself. Preseason is only TWO WEEKS away and I'm dying. I'm also trying my best to convince B that we need a new TV for the basement (on our house to-do list) for watching said NFL games.
  • The Olympics start this weekend - Hooray, who else is excited?!
  • I said I wouldn't spend over $50 in a nail salon (in one day) again for a long while, but I'm tempted to allow myself a mani/pedi appointment Friday morning - it's gotta be good for the soul, right?


Ahh, it's amazing how therapeutic this linkup is for me! Hop on over and link up yourself!


Happy Hump Day!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Menu Monday

Whew, Monday morning again! Last week was refreshing and energizing for me, and I was beyond thrilled to welcome each one of my guest bloggers. Didn't they do a fabulous job! 

So, thank you again Courtney, Aliya, Tracy, Tina, Sam and Adrienne!

Since today is Monday, and I am officially back into the swing of things at home, I wanted to link up for Molly's 'Menu Monday' once again. 


I love to try new things, but I am also a sucker for a good recipe, and often incorporate some of our favorite recipes into the menu about once a week or so.

I wanted to feature last week's menu because I thought it offered a lot of different types of meals, and some of my favorite recipes, inspired by some of my favorite bloggers!

If you follow me on IG, you likely already know how obsessed I am with Salmon Risotto. I got this recipe from my friend Aliya, and you can check it out here! Trust me, its simple, and absolutely delicious! My goal is to incorporate mushrooms and scallops in place on the salmon next time, and I always add some spinach to get the greens in there!

Another one of my favorite summer recipes came from Laura. B is obsessed with Caesar dressing, so I knew slow cooked chicken Caesar sandwiches would be a huge hit in our house! Thanks again, Laura!

And that mention of 'bison burgers' that you see above? They were divine.  If you've never used bison meat in place of regular ground beef, I totally recommend it. Since B like to grill, he prepared these burgers, and all we added to them was some salt and pepper! I recommend topping them with either grilled mushrooms or fresh sliced avocado - YUM.




So, there you have it - some of our favorite dinners wrapped up in a nice little bow. If you have any other questions about the recipes, please let me know! You can email me directly at ourlovenestblog{at}gmail{dot}com

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dress Up Your Table For Any Occasion! DIY Table Settings


I hope you've been enjoying this week full of guest bloggers as much as I have! New recipes, DIY projects, and newlywed stories are, obviously, all right up my alley!

Last, but certainly not least, is Adrienne from La Vita è Bella. And, like she describes below, she blogs about all things beautiful. If you haven't already been to her blog, you should definitely pop over. You may pick up a few ideas while you're there!
Again, that you Adrienne, and thank you to each one of my fabulous guest bloggers. You truly made this week a delight around these parts, and I hope to have you back some time soon!
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Hello!  Thank you so much to Pam for letting me take over her corner of the web this beautiful Saturday!  I have followed Pam’s blog for close to a year now and on Twitter and I really love her point of view on things and she is among my favorite bloggers.  I’m Adrienne and you can visit me over at La Vita è Bella where I blog about all things beautiful. 
I am a teacher but have a hobby of creating an events at the drop of a hat.  This is evident during holidays and family gatherings when I get out my craft box and go to town making simple, yet beautiful place settings. 
During Christmas last year, I created this lovely tablescape for our annual Christmas Day Dinner.  All it took were neutral colored round placemats from Target, cloth napkins from William Sonoma, and three colors of reusable ribbon.  Usually I create flatware wraps but because this was a special occasion, we used a combination of familysilver.  The following was the result:

Fourth of July was no exception but it was a smaller occasion so I simplified things.  Below is a step by step collage of how I put together the silverware wraps for our Fourth of July Table:
1:  Gather supplies; for this wrap, I used red twine, royal blue satin ribbon, the flatware, scissors and the William Sonoma neutral napkins.
2:  Measure your ribbon and twine.  I gauge this by laying the napkin out and then measuring the ribbon and twine the same width as the napkin.
3.  Stack your flatware in the middle of the napkin.
4.  Fold the right side of the napkin over the flatware, and then roll to the left.
5.  Tie the ribbon and twine around the wrap and let the remaining ribbon and twine hand off the side.
6.  Set your table!

A pretty table does not have to be fancy and your extra effort will be appreciated by your guests!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Awesome Summer 'Date Night' Ideas!


I can't believe it's already Friday! This week has flown by, and I'm honestly sad to see it coming to a close. But, we're not done yet! 
Today, I'm welcoming Sam from The Ruby Turtle Hippie Times! If you've never read Sam's blog, you are certainly missing out. Her and her hubby are living in Michigan while she finishes law school, and I really admire her drive. Make sure to pop on over and say hello!
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Hi y’all! My name is Sam and I write over at the ruby Turtle hippie times. A quick little background about me is that I’ve been married to my hubby for almost 5 years. We’re from Oklahoma, but currently live in Michigan because I’m in law school. We have a Frenchie named Paisley and someday will have kids. For now, we love and enjoy each other tons.
 
I’m super excited to write out what my ideal summer days have been this summer. The summertime is when I live “in the now” the most. So let’s get to it.
This summer, my husband and I have been taking every opportunity to soak up the summer. Our sense of urgency is based on the fact our friends from school will soon be heading back to their respective states. (We’ll head back to ours too!) In the process of spending all this time together, we’ve started living in the now and enjoying each day.
As a result, we’ve been having some kick-a** dates. So I thought I’d share my date night ideas with y’all. They’re nothing spectacular or over the top, BUT if you turn off your cell phone, you’d be amazed at how fun these activities are.

1.    Fishing. I didn’t think I would like this. I mean come on, touching nasty worms to put them on hooks? Yuck, but catching a fish is uber fun! Once I caught that first fish, I didn’t want Brandon’s help with baiting my own hooks and casting. Of course, I still needed help with releasing the fish, but hey baby steps! There also is something really relaxing about fishing. Your hubby will also find it super hot. JUST SAYING!
2.    Car Shows. I know this might seem lame, but the cars are just so dang cool! It allows for a nice afternoon or evening stroll. Car shows tend to be around or near a great burger joint, so if you like themed dates, then this will be an All-American date!
3.    Watching Dawson’s Creek at nighttime before bed. This is pretty self-explanatory. I know there are a lot of TV series that could be watched, but I am recommending this one for the great 90s music, the good beach scenes, and who doesn’t love a good teenage love story! It will be an awesome way to wind down your day with your honey.
4.    Sno-cones. I never thought that I could miss something as simple as flavored ice in my entire life. But y’all, there are no sno-cones to be found in Michigan. I cannot wait for a good old sno-cone back in Oklahoma. I think this simple idea is good for a quick sweet treat at night when good conversation is prone to happen or during the day when you think you can’t take the heat one more second. Sno-cone dates are special for us because they were part of our first dates.
5.    Hit up the pool. If it is hot as blazes outside, run don’t walk to the pool with your special somebody. It’ll cool you off and maybe you’ll get a tan in the process. It’s a treat that cools you off without going to the movie theatre so you won’t miss out on some good conversation.
6.    Bonfire with friends. Not all dates have to be just you and your honey. Smores, a good drink, hot dogs, burgers, chips and dip, and a lawn chair make for a good time around the fire.
So there you have it! These are just some of the fun ideas that we’ve had the fortune of doing this summer. Hope this finds you well!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lessons from 'Just Married'

Today, I am delighted to introduce you to Tina from Like Ordinary Life. She is a fellow newlywed and I love her creativity and free spirit! I am so happy to have her here today, and you will just love her take on marriage a la a favorite movie of mine.

You know, it really would be fabulous if all of us ladies could meet in person some day soon for cocktails?!
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I must preface this post by telling everyone out there that I have no business writing it. For starters, I am about to tell you about the first year of marriage and I’m only 9 months in. See? We told everyone it wasn’t a shotgun wedding! Just… kidding… Also, Pam was having a lapse of judgment when she told me I could guest post. One point for me! Still, I’m pretty honored that you are here, on Pam’s blog, reading my absurd ramblings. Thank you for humoring me, Pam.

There’s this scene in the old Brittany Murphy/ Ashton Kutcher movie Just Married where an older, wiser man tells Brittany’s character, Sarah, “Don’t worry, the first year is the hardest.” For whatever reason, that movie is what comes to my mind when I think about that old adage. Go figure. I’m not particularly sure I’ve bought into this school of thought quite yet. Here’s why.

The first year has been hard.

First, there were my lost, only set of car keys the day of the wedding (thank you to my husband, family and wedding party for keeping it a secret until after our wedding day). I consider that primo uno in this game of newlywed difficulties. We got through it rather well. I sat half-naked on the big, comfy chair in our hotel suite next to my wrinkled, worn out silk taffeta gown and cried myself through an entire bottle of champagne. Alex ran a comb through his hair, shook his head and walked out of the room telling me “Pull yourself together... and get ready.” See? We are just awesome as husband and wife.

 

As you can see, I pulled myself together rather well that morning. Shout out to Uncle Jack for the photobomb. Yay, 12 hour old newlyweds!

Then, there was our honeymoon. If only you knew. I’ll give you the highlights. Alex lost his wedding band. I broke my foot leaving the house. At the airport, I misplaced my Passport going through security and caused One Loud, Big, Obnoxious Scene. Homeland Security had to ask me to leave. (Don’t worry, my Passport was safely awaiting my return lodged in between the laptop screen and keyboard.) There was a pilot who couldn’t land our plane… three times. We had a bout of food poisoning, a geriatric hitchhiker who made clicking noises out of the corner of his mouth, and agonizing sunburn the day before our über expensive couples massage. Ouch.

 

A broken foot didn't stop me from hiking. See that sign behind us? If only I knew it was talking about marriage and not the Arenal Volcano.

Since the honeymoon, we’ve had more than our share of disagreements, setbacks and curveballs. Honestly, more than in any of the other five years we’ve been together. So, sure, there is an argument that the first year has been the hardest.

But, did you get that? It’s only been five years. No way, Jose: life isn’t that easy: sign, sealed, and delivered to the courthouse with $35 cash, and 365 days later you are on your way to life in the fast lane!?!? I think not. If anything, the first year of marriage is a training session for the rest of our lives together. Newlywed bliss still hasn’t worn off so we all have the glitz of our sparkling rings, a freshly stocked house filled with high quality wedding gifts, and a new signature we’re still perfecting. Surely, this all helps us through the hard stuff.

In many ways, I’ll buy into our first year of marriage being the hardest. However, those 5 years are all we’ve ever known together. Why do we marry, anyway? Somewhere in between the “I do” and happily ever after, I get to experience every prodigious up and down life has to offer with my best friend...


And for that, I count myself pretty darn lucky. 

Thank you, again, for reading my absurd ramblings! Be sure to come visit me at Like Ordinary Life!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Whole New Kind of Vacation

Happy Wednesday! This week is chock full of fabulous guest bloggers! What do you think so far?!

Today, please welcome, Tracy. Although we've never met, I do consider her a friend, and am excited for us to actually meet some day soon! She just had her second son, and boy is her family beautiful! Make sure to pop over and check her out.
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Hi there! I’m Tracy and I’m a wife, mother, photographer and I call Pamela my friend! When she asked me to guest post for her last week the first thing that popped into my mind was vacationing since we were on our way to the lake as a family. Every inch of our SUV was packed tight and sitting behind me was a toddler humming along to Curious George and a very fussy newborn ready to eat yet again. Next to me was my very relaxed husband driving and we started chatting about our vacationing days before children. Before our babies we traveled a lot together. We loved seeing new countries and exploring them. We wanted to visit as many as we could and enjoy our youth as much as possible. 


Now that we have two children we are still traveling but vacationing has a whole new meaning to us these days. Afternoons spent laying on the beach with one of those fancy drinks in our hands are now spent tackling toddlers who have no fear of the water...just like their Daddy. Late night swims have turned into late night feedings and checking on a sun kissed sleeping toddler.

Do we miss vacations alone together? Oh, yes. We miss them a lot. We spent seven years together before our babies came so it was certainly an adjustment but the fact of the matter is our time with them is so short. 


This is just a chapter in our lives. They are only with us for so long before they venture out into the world themselves to explore. There will only be so many vacations with them when little things are still so magical to them. I want to enjoy these moments as long as possible and savor every trip with my boys and every single memory made together.

Relaxing with your baby on your chest in the warm sun is sweeter than a frozen margarita on the beach and that's good for the heart.


 
Swimming with your toddler hunting for sharks and mermaids in the lake - that's way more fun than diving with real sharks and you know what? It's good for the soul.



So for now whether you have children or not - enjoy the chapter of your life you are currently in. It's only here for a short time and then you'll be off to the next exciting one. Savor every minute and love the ones your with!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Blogger 'Bio, If You Will - And A 'Blogging 411' Linkup from Mrs. to Mama!



I know I'm supposed to be on a blogging 'vacation' this week, but when Becky posted this linkup info last week, I thought it was such a fun idea, and wanted my readers to be able to get to know me a little better, especially if you're new around here! I would love to find out more about some of you as well, so make sure to linkup on Becky's blog!

Questions

1. How long have you been blogging? And what got you started on blogging? Has your blog changed?

I started this blog back in December of 2008. Back when this little blog was called 'A Girl, Inspired, and B was just my boyfriend, I was relatively new to the 'real working girl' world, and I had no idea what a fun journey this would take me on!

I started blogging because I enjoyed reading the blogs that I had grown to love, and thought that I had something sort of fun and interesting to share with others out there. I also started blogging around the same time as my (now) sister-in-law, and one of my very best friends (who also happens to be guest blogging for me today, woot!). It was kind of our 'thing' even back then, and it has been so much fun seeing how each has changed and how so much has happened!

2. Did you go to college? If so where, and what did you study?

I went to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. I refer to JMU as 'a little piece of heaven on earth.' Not only I meet my husband there, but I met some of my very best friends, ones that I now consider family, and it was four of the best years of my life to date.

I studied Technical Communications, which is basically just a fancy way of saying communication plus some web design.

3. Where have you traveled?

Honestly, my list of fabulous places I've traveled is rather short. I've been to Mexico, the Dominican, took a cruise to Belize and Costa Maya in college, but spent most of my traveling days as a kid at the beaches in NJ, North and South Carolina (Hilton Head is by far my favorite one), visiting Disney and family in Florida, and more recently, we've been spending as much time as possible at my in-laws place in Fenwick Island, DE. I've also been out to California a few times, mainly for work trips, so exciting I know!

As far as where I'd like to go? For starters, I am still banking on re-booking our anniversary trip to St. Lucia this year, and would also love to get to both Hawaii and Australia with B someday.

4. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?

I always jump the gun and think 'a $10 million beach front property,' but truth be told, I think I might run out and buy myself a Range Rover or something first!
 
5. What are your 3 biggest pet peeves?

Hmm, this is quite a revealing one, huh? I would have to say that a dirty kitchen and/or bathroom really bother me. I also hate laziness, to the point where middle of the day naps can get on my nerves. I am also a freak about having my bed made every day. It's a sickness.

6. What is your favorite movie?

Wow, this is a tough one. I would say that the top 4 movies that I will watch, without fail, every time they are on TV are The Notebook, Taken, Couples Retreat and Shooter. Ohhh la la, Mark Wahlberg!
 
7. What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea?

I am not a liquor drinker. I have pretty much always been a beer girl, but in the last year or two, I have been drinking a lot more white wine and can devour a bottle of champagne, preferably Prosecco!
 
8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?

I love some 'me' time, and typically, I will choose to spend it vegging out on the couch with a glass of wine and a cheesy Lifetime movie. That's just how I relax.
 
9. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, which store would it be?

More than likely, JCrew. Or Nordstrom!
 
10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past? Or present.

When I was a freshman in high school, I guess the senior girls thought I would be fun to pick on, so one of them stood up in the middle of the cafeteria at lunch and called out my name, then proceeded to show me her makeup bag and tell me that ' I should probably learn how to wear some.' Mortified is not even close to a strong enough word to describe that moment. Luckily, I had (and still have) great friends, so the shock wore off quickly. But, I don't really miss high school. 
 
11. What day would you love to relive again?

Our wedding day, without a doubt. Second runner up would probably be the day I graduated from college. Those were good days
 
12. If your life was turned into a movie... what actor would play you?

Hmm, great question. I have always loved Sandra Bullock and Reese Witherspoon, so either of them would be fabulous. 
 
13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?

In high school, I worked at a local pharmacy. That was probably my first 'real' job and I loved it. After that, I babysat for years until right after college when I got my first big girl job.
 
14. Show us a picture from high school or college.

Hahaha, well that was fun. Looking through old college pictures brought back lots of memories! Here goes nothing!



15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?

I think I'd go back to Australia with B (he studied there for 4 months on college) and stay for a month or two.
 
16. Show us the most current picture of you or you and your family.

This shot was taken on New Years Eve of this past year. My entire (immediate) family went to my parents place in Palm Beach, FL for a week. We had a blast, and pictured below is myself and B, both of my sisters and their boyfriends, and my brother :o)


17. Where do you see your life 5 years from now?

Five years from now I'd love to have 2-3 kids and be moving into a new house that we built. Of course all of this means that B and I will be very busy over the next few years, but a girl can dream! 

Fresh Summer Fun & Recipes for Your Family!

Happy Tuesday! I am officially home as of last night. We had a wonderful girls weekend in ATL including dinners, drinks, shopping (of course) and The Mart. More to come on the trip later.


Today, I am thrilled to introduce you to one of my IRL best friends, Aliya. Like she explains below, we go way back. We've been roommates, bridesmaids in each others' weddings and so, so much more. She blogs over at Double the Fun about her beautiful family and crazy busy life with two kids under two! She's sharing some of her favorite summer recipes today, and I am thrilled not only add them to my repertoire, but to be able to share them with all of you as well!
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Hello lovely Our Love Nest readers!! My name is Aliya and I am absolutely thrilled to be coming to Pam's neck of the woods today to guest post for her! You can find me over at Double The Fun where I ramble on about life with two babies exactly a year apart. No, really. They have the same birthday... For serious.

Pam and I go way back... like wayyyy back... like, before Britney went crazy back. We've been good friends for years and over that time we've shared a love for many things including unnecessary shopping sprees, chick flicks, bar crawls and good food. So when Pam asked me to guest post a few of my fave summer recipes, how could I say no??

In the summer, I try to avoid cooking heavy meals like chili, lasagna, soups, etc... I like cool and light dishes especially in the awful heat wave we've been having, it's so much more refreshing to eat a salad and piece of fish than say a bowl of beef stew. With that said, here is a full meal (appetizer, entree and dessert) that you should definitely add to your summertime menus! And, all of them will take you less than 15 - 20 mins. Take that, Rachael Ray! :)

Appetizer:

Bean Salsa/Salad/Dip

Not sure what to call this dish. Let's just call it AMAZING because that's what it is. This salad can be an appetizer, a snack or even a side dish. I promise if you try it, you'll never want to take anything else to a potluck or BBQ again! And its a nice transition from those greasy, cheesy, fatty dips that you normally see. Its the perfect summer treat! (sidenote: it makes a TON so you might want to think twice before doubling the recipe).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 2 avocados
  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • 1 can of black beans (drained)
  • 1 can of Mexicorn (drained) -- I hadn't heard of mexicorn until this recipe, but its really easy to find in a regular grocery store. Its in the canned veggie aisle next to the corn and its made by Green Giant.
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 package of Good Seasons dry Italian Dressing (it comes in a packet, but its in the dressing aisle)
  • 1/2 cup of regular Canola or Vegetable Oil (I'd use a tad less if you're omitting the onions... maybe use about 1/3rd cup
  • a sprinkle of regular, White, Distilled Vinegar (couple teaspoons)
Chop everything fine into small cubes. Add to a bowl, stir, and scoop with Tortilla Chips. Yummers.

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Entree:

Meyer Lemon Broiled Salmon

I could/should write a book on 1,001 ways to cook a filet of salmon. I love salmon and thankfully so does my family... we eat it at least once a week if not more. This is great easy, FAST recipe that even my Hubby (a lemon hater) loves. Meyer lemons are a special species of lemon that taste almost orange-y and less intense lemon. They are perfect for any time you want a hint of lemon without it being too overpowering.

INGREDIENTS:
  • Filet of Salmon (however much you want)
  • 1 Meyer Lemon, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh dill (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

 Line a baking sheet with foil and put your salmon (skin down, if it has skin) on it. Generously drizzle olive oil over the salmon and top with salt/pepper and dill. Place sliced lemons on top. Broil 10 - 12 minutes (for medium), 15 for well done.


Dessert:

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

It should be known that I am NOT a dessert person. Like, at all. Occasionally I'll have a brownie or cookie, but that is few & far between. But this dessert? I could eat it everyday. And I'm not just saying that. Plus, it's a GREAT alternative to spending $50+ on an ice cream cake at your next BBQ or Summer Birthday Bash!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Box of Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • 1 Box of Chips Ahoy Cookies
  • 1 carton Cool Whip
  • Caramel Sauce
Begin by adding the Chips Ahoy cookies to a food processor and blending them until they form a crumble. Then, in a casserole dish, layer the following (like you would a lasagna) in this order: Ice Cream Sandwiches, Cool Whip, Chips Ahoy Crumbs. Do as many layers as you want (2 - 3 works best). Once you're done, drizzle caramel sauce all over the top. Voila! Instant ice cream cake heaven.

I never took a picture of this because I always devour it too quickly, but here is my son Ky loving/enjoying it at his cousin's birthday party a couple weeks ago :)

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Now hows that for a delicious and light summer meal?

Hope that you all will try some of these recipes! And be sure to stop by my blog and let me know if you do :)

Thanks again for having me Pamcakes!! xoxo

Monday, July 16, 2012

Baby Bucket List Courtesy of One of My Personal Favorites!

 Hello lovelies! Since I am out of town, visiting my sister in Atlanta right now, I have a fabulous week of guest bloggers lined up for your reading pleasure, and I couldn't be more excited about it!

Today's post comes from one of my very favorite bloggers, and by far, one of my absolutely sweetest internet friends! Courtney and I 'met' recently, and we are definitely in the same 'season' of life right now. We connected instantly, and I am honored to have her here to share part of her journey today!
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Hello all! Let me first introduce myself before jumping right in for this guest post. My name is Courtney and I’m coming over here from my blog “With Gratitude.” I’ve been married to my college sweetheart, Jeremy, for 3 ½ years and I’m amazed the way our marriage has continued to grow and strengthen since the beginning of our relationship almost 8 years ago. He really is my best friend and I couldn’t imagine going through life without him.


I have been keeping my blog for a little over three years and it’s the best form of journaling I’ve ever had. Not to mention the community blogging brings with it and the amazing women you can find who are in similar places of life as yourself, which is how I first met the sweet owner of this blog.


The first time I “met” Pamela was when she stopped by after reading a post I had written about starting our family after being married for 3 years. She was so sweet about it and said she could relate to me since they were also on their own track and trying for a baby as well. When she asked me to guest post for this week, I knew right away what I wanted to write about: the list I had started a few months ago to help me stay positive during this time of waiting… a bucket list if you will.  


If you follow me, you will know that it has not been the bed of roses I was expecting when we first made the decision that we were finally “ready.” We have been trying for almost 10 months now with some complications along the way and it has been a very tiring and difficult journey for us at times.


It’s hard to stay upbeat about it, especially when you see other girls around you who blink and get pregnant, but I’ve been trying my hardest to see the silver lining and keep a positive spirit up even when I’m having bad days.


Every month when I see yet another stick with only one pink line, I force a smile on my face and tell my husband that it’s probably for the best we didn’t get pregnant that month. And then I go on to explain why it wouldn’t have been an optimum time for us and now we can go and do this thing, or this, or something else we’ve been talking about where a baby would have interrupted the plans. I’m very aware it’s a form of self-preservation but I need to do it in order to cope with the continuing bad news.


Another thing that helps with each failed cycle is the reminder of things I can still do while not being pregnant or things we want to get accomplished before a baby comes along. When I’m having an especially hard day, I will sit and look at the list I started {and keep adding to} in order to pep myself up and make me feel better about not yet being with child. I figured there are other girls out there like Pamela and myself who are going through similar things and it might help to post my list on here and they can add their own ideas to it. After all, we are only going to have this time of no children once in our lives and we need to enjoy it while we still can.



So without further ado:



My Baby Bucket List/Pre-Bump Enjoyment

 

·         Start doubling what we put into our savings accounts each month for emergencies or rainy days. We have been building a nest egg from the beginning of our marriage before preparing for a family but I always feel more comfortable with extra padding in it for those “just in case” times.


·         Get healthier! I've done really well at keeping up with my work-outs at the gym but I need to adjust my diet to help get this body ready for a healthier environment once a bambino decides to grace us with his/her presence.


·         Get in my girl time. Hanging out with girlfriends and meeting for random dinner or movie dates won’t be as easy once I’m a mommy so I’m trying to fit in as much as I can now. Stay out late, drink glasses of wine or margaritas at our favorite Mexican restaurants, and enjoy my carefree, young days.


·         More traveling. We are blessed to have seen a lot of amazing places like Mexico, New York, a Caribbean cruise, Hawaii and so on but I also know this is literally going to be one of the only times in our lives we can just take off on a whim. We’re DINK’s {Double Income- No Kids} and we need to take advantage of that while we can! We have another Mexican vacation planned for later this year and I can’t wait to sit on a beach and do nothing but sleep and read in the sun again. We also have several friends of ours that are scattered throughout the country and wish to visit them for short weekend trips and get caught up in their new places.


 

·         Enjoy all the sushi, wine, beer, deli meats and coffee while I can. I’m going to savor every sip of my favorite Riesling on the weekend nights when we’re out with friends and every sip of my Starbucks lattes. I am going to really miss those once we’re finally pregnant.


·         Appreciate my teeth whitening. I have an awesome dentist who gives free teeth whitening with every 6 month visit but he has already made it clear to me that is a BIG no-no once I have a bun in the oven.


·         Buying clothes in small sizes before I gain 100 pounds in 9 months. I’m well aware that my body will probably never be quite the same once I go through the pregnancy process and I’m sure I will someday mourn my pre-baby body so I want to dress it up in my favorite styles and fashions before they are inappropriate for a mom to wear. Not to mention, I’m enjoying my highest heels and stilettos to walk around in.


·         Random camping jaunts up in the mountains for a night or two with my guy and the pup. We live in Colorado and have the ability to take advantage of our gorgeous Rockies this summer.


·         Date nights where we plan anything we want- sky’s the limit! We don’t have to worry about a babysitter or curfew and can live free as birds without too much responsibility holding us back. Overnight dates in Denver at a fancy restaurant and sweet hotel? Sounds good to me!


·         Sleep in. Even though I’m not a great sleeper to begin with and I have an internal clock that goes off at 6:00 a.m. every morning, I have been forcing myself to lay in bed as long as possible on the weekends and relish the quiet in our house.


·         Be  more adventurous! Boating, hiking, wakeboarding, and other things I’m usually too chicken to try are on my agenda this summer. I only live once right?


·         I also want to encourage Jeremy to be more selfish during this time as well. I’m going to keep my mouth shut when he plays another hour of video games or spends time with his friends.


These are all I have come up with so far but if you think of any others, please don’t hesitate to share. I can use all of the encouragement and inspiration I can get right now to help me keep a positive attitude.


And hopefully come December we will be turning our Mexican vacation into a more appropriate “Babymoon” to start of the new year.



Please Lord, let it be so!