Merry Everything. {Already?}

I realize it’s a little ridiculous, but I desperately wanted to take the little bug to a pumpkin patch this year. I know he’s not old enough to have a clue, but I just can’t bypass his first Halloween without a little celebration. I compromised this weekend and took him to roadside stand with pre-picked pumpkins. He loved it. I loved it. And the pumpkin-themed pictures made me start thinking about all the other holiday we have coming up and all the cute pictures we’ll get to take.

baby at pumpkin patch

I know it’s only October, but word on the street is it’s time to start taking Christmas pictures already. WAhhhaaat?! I’m not ready to do that quite yet {he grows too fast to pull off a Christmas picture at 9 months when he’ll almost be 12 months, plus there’s no way I’m pulling out Christmas stuff}. Nonetheless it made me realize I’ll have to get my act together this year. The novelty of sending holiday cards kind of wore off when we started having friends and family with kids that would send the adorable photo cards in the mail. Somehow a white card with our names signed in the corner just lost it’s appeal. But this year I’d say we have some pretty cute material to work with. Winking smile

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You all know I love my photo books. I haven’t made one since the babe was 6 weeks old. I’m working on one, but let’s just say it’s taking awhile. While working on my book I got a little distracted and started looking through all the photo card options on the Shutterfly site.

So.many.choices.

Apparently in addition to starting to think about Christmas cards in the fall, people also plan their Christmas pictures around the card they pick out. I’m so not that organized. But of course I started looking and brainstorming anyways.

holiday photo cards

I’m in love with the “Merry Everything” themes.

merry everything holiday cardchristmas card photo idea

The “Top 10 Moments” is a pretty stinkin’ cute idea too.

top 10 moments of 2012 holiday card ideadeck the halls christmas carphoto christmas cardholiday photo carddamask christmas cardoh what fun photo cardsfa la la la la photo christmas cardsbe merry cardshutterfly cardshappy joyful cardslove cheer hope christmas cards from shutterfly

Thinking about Christmas absolutely blows my mind. Last year on Christmas I was big and pregnant and blissfully unaware what was about to happen the next week. Let’s just say my mom packed up all my Christmas stuff while I snuggled with a brand new babe. I can’t believe that this Christmas is going to be spent watching the little guy play with the wrapping paper and low-hanging ornaments and tugging on the tree. I guess it shouldn’t really surprise me that I’m getting nostalgic thinking about the holidays when I’m already thinking about his first birthday… cue the water works.

pregnant at christmasbaby stocking

Anyways. So fill me in on this Christmas card photo thing. Do I realllllly need to be planning this already?!

And in case the answer is yes, and you’re planning already too, Shutterfly is giving one of you $50 off your total order {not including shipping}. Leave a comment about your favorite holiday photo idea below! Ends Friday. You can also check out the special offers they have available.

{You can also get 30% off photo books.}

Disclosure: I received a discount on my holiday photo cards from Shutterfly in exchange for this post. Woot woot.

 

 

EDIT: The WINNER is Kelly, comment #18!

Patriotic Parties: Refreshing Firework Smoothie

{Note: This is the first in a series of posts about celebrating summer sponsored by Bacardi.}

Nothing screams you’re getting close to the beach for 4th of July weekend after a long monotonous drive through back roads and chicken farms like a roadside fruit stand packed with juicy, mouthwatering peaches.

sparklers

Every year growing up we’d get up at the crack of dawn one mid-summer Saturday, pack the car to the brim with boogie boards and beach chairs, and start the day-long drive from MD to the beaches of NC. Just as we approached the Outer Banks {really approached the Outer Banks, not just drove past the sign that tricks you into thinking you’re almost there}, the peach stands would start popping up.

peaches fruit stand

First there’d be one sketchy shack by the side of the road. Then another. And another. Eventually you just HAD to stop. You could almost smell the sweet nectar of peaches seeping through the car vents on top of the slightly salty smell of the near-beach air.

When we finally got to the beach, we’d begrudgingly unload the overstuffed car, then happily stack the kitchen counter full of freshly picked peaches. When we tired of having sticky juice run down our chins as we bit into the ripe peaches, we’d turn to the blender. {Ok, no one gets tired of juicy peaches. But they still make good smoothies.}

bag of peaches

For the rest of the week we’d blend up cold afternoon treats of peaches, bananas, and our secret tropical ingredient: Tang. You know, the sugary, powdered orange drink mix? Yeah, that’s the stuff.

It’s been years since I’ve been to the Outer Banks, but now that I live in NC, the husband and I take an annual trip {or two} to the closer beaches of NC and SC. It’s become a tradition to celebrate 4th of July weekend {better known as the husband’s birthday around here} at the beach with friends. We just got back from a trip at the beach and I learned a thing or two about keeping this breastfeeding momma hydrated in this inferno of a summer heat wave the whole country seems to be suffocating in. Remembering my peach-Tang-smoothie beach concoctions from childhood, I once again turned to the blender to help hydrate and beat the heat.

 

These ingredients are definitely a must for Independence Day beach bash birthday trip that’s just around the corner.

4th of july word art

Firework Smoothie

by with a Side of Sneakers

Ingredients (2 smoothies)

  • 3 oz coconut water
  • 12 oz coconut-almond milk
  • 3 cups ice
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • ½ cup blueberries

Instructions

Mix coconut water, coconut-almond milk, and ice in blender. Pulse and blend on high speed until ice is fully crushed. Divide into 3 parts.

Return 1 part of coconut mix to blender. Add strawberries and blend to combine. Pour into separate container.

Add another serving of the plain coconut mix to blender. Add blueberries and blend.

Fill glass by alternating smoothie layers so you end up with white, red, and blue stripes.

*Feel free to sub another kind of milk or fruit as desired.

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It’s the perfect smoothie to go along with your Fourth of July celebration fare. Serve alongside or as an appetizer to some of these fabulous Independence Day cookout recipes:

4th of july cookout recipes

1. Crispy Blackened Tofu from Daily Garnish

2. Grilled Guacamole from Two Peas & Their Pod

3. Corn Pudding from Duchess of Fork

4. Chocolate Dipped Pretzels Sticks from Cupcakes & Cashmere

4th of july printable keep calm and wave on

Source

What are your favorite 4th of July cookout staples & cocktails?Share your go-to’s in a chat with Foodie tonight at 4pm PST for a chance to win a $250 gift card from Sur La Table. Join in with #BacardiCocktails!

Bacardi Client Logo for Author Program

BACARDÍ Classic Cocktails Light is a new line of low calorie, ready to serve cocktails. At less than 95 calories for a 4-ounce serving, BACARDÍ Classic Cocktails Light is available in Pina Colada and Mojito flavors and is made with natural flavors, real juice and pure cane sugar. Whether enjoying a favorite cocktail after a long day or throwing a party, BACARDÍ Classic Cocktails deliver classic cocktail taste that’s a hit with friends, won’t add inches to your waistline and won’t take all day to prepare.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Bacardi via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Bacardi.

Father’s Day Feastin

The husband’s first father’s Day was packed full if the best things in life: family & food.

We started the day with a neighborhood walk with Mimi {my mom} who was visiting for the weekend while the dads slept in a bit.

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Then we showered daddy in homemade father’s day gifts:

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Matching daddy-baby tie shirts!

After my parents left {enter giant pouty faces here} the husband and I took our little man to the park to check out the baby swings. Success! He loved the swing! But parenting 101 fail: we didn’t bring a hat or sunglasses or sunscreen, so our adventure didn’t last long.

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After our park trip we moved on the next adventure of the day: letting the non-cool husband cook dinner. The inlaws brought the makings for a Greek salad. We kept things separate to accommodate various food preferences {read: me being picky. I hate almost everything about Greek cuisine}.

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The husband contributed his piece de resistance: grilled kabobs. He marinated some chicken and veggies in Italian dressing, paprika, pepper, and Old Bay. {Everything gets Old Bay when he cooks.}

Along with the chicken we had red onions, green peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, and tomatoes. {Again separate so we could all be choosy. The perfect meal for a picky audience.}

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Then came my contribution: dessert. 🙂

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I made Phoebe’s grandma’s secret cookie recipe {a la Nestle Tollhouse}, with only 2 changes: 75% cacao dark chocolate and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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I’ve made these hundreds of times but instead of coming out like nice chewy cookie bars per usual, they came out soft & cake like instead.

Food science experts! What happened?! Did I cream the butter & sugar too long? Did I beat the eggs too much? Bake it funny? I’m used to strange results when I make a thousand substitutions, but not when I stick to the recipe.

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Anyway, the cookies were still delicious. Dark chocolate is the way to go.

We finished up our celebrations with a sleeping baby {momentarily} and split one of the most satisfying beers to ever cross my lips: Epic Brewing Copper Cone Pale Ale from Salt Lake City. Although the bottle coat more than the wine I drink so we probably won’t be indulging in it again anytime soon. {Note: I drink really cheap wine so this isn’t as extravagant as it sounds.}

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All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good first father’s day!

This Happened.

Yeah, this happened yesterday.

funfetti cinnamon rolls

Little man turned 4 months old… and I turned 4 months old for the 83rd time. Or something like that. Math is not my strong suit.

4 month old baby boy

But regardless, it was cause for celebration. And what better way to celebrate than with rainbow sprinkles.

 

A birthday with Funfetti is always a happy one. Smile

birthday cinnamon rolls

After chowing down on 1 or 10 of these babies, the little guy and I spent the rest of the day relaxing together.

mom and baby

We had lots of sleeping snuggles.

sleeping baby snuggles

And learned how to Skype so we could talk to Daddy!

baby boy

Then we decided to see how many things we could make that involved sprinkles.

rainbow sprinkles

After a playdate for the little one {ok, ok, for mom!}, we came home for early bedtimes all around. I know, the glamorous life of a new mom.

So all in all, I’d say it was a pretty good day. Winking smile

 

Said 4 month is waking up, so recipe to come tomorrow! Like all good things, it’s worth waiting for.

Happy Day O’Green!

You’d think a holiday built around the color green, beer, and Irish entrees would give me a pretty easy excuse for a St Patty’s day meal or a green or rainbow themed dessert.

st patrick's day desserts

But as my little guy told you, our days are pretty much filled right now. You know, with exciting things like nap battles and eating all day.

So instead I leave you with a little St. Patrick’s Day message from my favorite leprechaun over at tiny sneakers. Winking smile

16 Non-Cake Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Red Velvet

Red Velvet Cupcakes In A Jar

Red Velvet Crêpes

Red Velvet and Strawberry Trifles with Cheesecake Filling

Thick Chocolate Cake with a Big Red (Velvet!) Heart

Red Velvet Valentine’s Macarons

Red Velvet Cheesecake Milkshake

Red Velvet Pancakes

Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats

Baked Red Velvet Donuts

Red Velvet Fudge

Red Velvet Truffles

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Cupcake Red Velvet Wine

Red Velvet Camera?!

 

What’s your favorite way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?