Sunday, July 12, 2015

Vacation Days in Virginia


Last week was full of summer goodness :: road tripping to drop one son off at soccer camp at the University of Virginia, then exploring the countryside around Charlottesville, Virginia with my husband and two other sons. It was an ideal vacation. We hiked hidden trails, toured historic homes, sampled locally made wines and crashed every night after a refreshing swim in the hotel's outdoor pool and hot tub. We had no defined schedule to keep and simply followed our noses to whatever interested us. When it was time to go we actually felt ready and eager to return to our preferred rhythms and routines. Coincidentally, I came across this article on the vanishing vacation on the drive home and my husband agreed that after our holiday he feels ready to get back to work with a fresh frame of mind. Surprisingly I too am happy to get back to the laundry and the cooking and the  driving and the commitments. Vacationing is a very good thing.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

52 Photos {orange}

For Christmas my amazingly generous sister gifted me with a fancy food processor.  The one I was using was a 1980s relic of my mother's that made more noise than it should. I almost hated to say goodbye to it but as soon as I started using the new processor I forgot all about the old one. One favorite way it has come in handy is in grating blocks of cheddar cheese. We also love it for making roasted red pepper hummus and lots and lots of salsa. Thanks Mariah! You're the best sister a girl could have. XO

Playing along at 52 Photos : Orange


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday Surfing {favorite spots from around the web}

Saturdays are the perfect time for a little aimless web-wandering and here are few of my recent reads I'd like to recommend to you.

The Wild Surrender of Motherhood by Carrie Ann Moss @Annapurna Living
This new website launched this week and is absolutely lovely. Remember Carrie Ann Moss from the Matrix movies? Well she is now the founder and inspiration behind this blog.  Here is an excerpt of her vision for :

“To see womanhood through eyes of grace.” 
My desire is to live in a world where nourishment is valued. I believe a nourished family will lead to a nourished world. I believe life is beautiful and that our divine purpose in this world is to nurture the earth by respecting it and being grateful for what it provides us.
My wish is to inspire others to create beautiful, honest and satisfying lives.

My Other Ex: Women's True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends @A Design So Vast
Unfortunately, over the past few years I have found that the challenges of female friendships continue into adulthood. This article helped me realize I am not alone in these experiences.

Gratitude Week 2014
Starts Sunday, November 10. Are you in?

Chapter One free download from The Best Yes book  by Lysa TerKeurst
I just finished reading this book with a book club. It was so good. Even if you know how to make the right decisions for your family and your personal time, reading a book that affirms your right to do-so is so validating.

Creamy Chicken Lasagna Recipe from Runner's World Magazine
I've never made this recipe but it got my wheels turning for an after-Thanksgiving meal idea to use leftover turkey. Thanksgiving is just three weeks away! Time to plan the menu and the fun.

Happy surfing!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Savoring Summer {Staying in the Season}

The desk full of binders, calendars, sports schedules and dreamy ideas is where I currently find myself, while my mind continues to stray back to the mountains and clouds of our trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

We have been home for a week and I decided in future, I must come home better mentally prepared for the onslaught of emails and to-do items that pile up when we go away for two whole weeks. The fact that school resumes one week from today only intensifies the pressure to get it all done right away.

Usually at this point in August I am eager for cooler, less humid days hinting at the beauty of spicy Autumn flavors. Not this year. I am so invigorated by my return to normal movement following the long recovery from knee surgery that I don't want these summery days to end. At least not until they officially end on September 23, 2014.

This year feels like a do-over, the last one so consumed by injury, pain and slow, slow, slow recovery. My mind is bursting with goals and creative aspirations. I am (surprisingly) eager to resume the familiar round of driving to multiple soccer and now football (ack) practices that completely overtake our evenings and weekends. The reality is clear, my days must be set aside for chores and staying on top of our family life while the nights will be full-on taxi driving and hurry scurry. My husband's already full travel schedule seems to have morphed into superhuman status including several trips abroad for two weeks at a time. We have come to grips with the fact that we will see each other much less while our schedules have simultaneously become much busier.

But this is the way of things I have learned, that all families simply get busier each year and many husbands are gone for longer stretches of time than my own. We can do this and, luckily, I feel up to the task. So until September 23, I plan to savor each moment of this season and continue crossing items off the Summer 2014 Bucket Lists before I finish the Fall 2014 bucket list I may have already started working on.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

At the Water's Edge {52 Photos Project}

Sometimes I have to pinch myself that where we live, day after day, is actually a vacation destination for many people who come from far away to spend a weekend on the beach. They may have saved money for months to afford a few days splashing around in the waves and relaxing on the san that makes up our neighborhood.

I feel such gratitude that I can zip down the beach road on a whim, as we did yesterday, with less than two hours to spare; we simply needed to swim in the sea. It was almost 100 degrees outside and the sun gleamed in a brilliant blue sky. So off we went, while Kai was at camp, to the beach.  The older two boys swam gleefully as I read Bread and Wine and dreamed of delicious meals to make my sun-kissed family for dinner.

At one point I looked up and snapped this photo of my view. Then I pinched myself. This really is our home, our daily vacation spot, the place my boys have now lived for longer than anywhere else in their lives. We are living this beachy life, making our family's memories at the water's edge.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Daybook {June Swoon 2014}

Outside my window

These summer days have been beyond beautiful. Today is the last day of June and I hate to see it go. I had a fun hashtag on IG #juneswoon2014 where I documented all the lusciousness of this month. Time to switch over to July and full-blown summer heat, patriotism and travels. I need a new hashtag...


One of the best parts of summer is the freedom to read. For fun, whenever and wherever we feel the need. As always I have many books going at once.

My books:

The Little Oratory Still participating in the read-along here but have yet to formally set-up my oratory.
Bread and Wine Almost done. It's good.
What To Wear for the Rest of Your Life I love the section on organizing your wardrobe. So need this.
Poser Can I quit this one yet? I'm bored.
Done : A Cook's Guide to Knowing When Food Is Perfectly Cooked Always have to read at least one cookbook and this one takes me back to basics.

Audio Books
The Secret Life of Violet Grant I am listening to this one and not loving it nearly as much as her other book, A Hundred Summers.
Outlander I am listening to this one again for probably the fifth time. I read it when it first came out in 1992 and have waited anxiously for each additional release over the past 22 years. Now the latest is here and I don't want to crack the cover. The sooner I start, the sooner it will end!

Kai (age 6)
Magic Bone: Be Careful What You Sniff For 
Kenny and The Dragon

Zach (age 11)
The House of Secrets Book 2 
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Soccer IQ : Things That Smart Players Do

Rhys (age 12)
Dr. J : The Autobiography
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Mr. Mornings
The First Phone Call From Heaven

Out and About

We have had a busy summer of camps, and still have three more to go, but somehow it has felt  well balanced this year. Too many days without plans leads to trouble around the house but not enough margin in our days and we feel wrung out and eventually get sick.

The older boys were volunteer helpers while Kai attended as a camper. It was a big hit and they all want to do it again next year.

Vacation Bible School

Rhys is playing on a team put together by some classmates. They have no practices but play every weekend. This has been a fun way to stay in the game.
Field House Basketball Games

We had never attended the annual church picnic before but we did this year and had a wonderful time. The boys spent the afternoon in the water with friends from church while I got terribly sunburned visited and enjoyed the scenery.

 Parish Picnic

 Basketball Camp

The older two boys went to the same week long, all day basketball camp this year that they loved last summer. Once again, they enjoyed the competition, as well as the freedom and independence this old-fashioned camp offers. Next year all three will participate I think. They really want Kai there with them.
After the Movies

Right now it's hard to find movies for our whole family to see together. Kai is still too young for the super-hero movies the older boys like so we have to split up to have a movie outing. However, we recently went to How to Train Your Dragon 2 in 3D and all five of us loved it. Plus the 3D glasses are always worth wearing for a photo.

Around the House

When we're not out and about, there is a lot of reading, playing X-box or watching sports on TV. I usually retreat to the kitchen work or slip out to the deck with a book. Sometimes being the only girl, and not a very sporty one at that, in a house of four sports-loving males can be a little isolating. That being said, I am absolutely loving the World Cup this time around. My boys are all such huge soccer fans that they have sucked me right into the game. Having the USA to cheer for is all the better. 


I snapped this shot of my legs while waiting to see the surgeon last Friday. I am officially four months out from ACL/meniscus surgery and finally feeling like myself again. The surgeon had good news : I am ready to start jogging again. Not that I am a real runner, but I do like to jog for exercise and I have missed it and any form of exercise now for seven long months. I am feeling out of shape and quite plump and cannot wait just to get moving again.

The five scars are healing really well  (the one down my shin is from childhood and not this surgery) and my mobility, though painfully slow to return, is nearly normal again. I cannot straighten the leg fully nor can I bend it fully but the average person would never know by my walk that I am still healing. I will continue to go to physical therapy to get back to running and then see the doc one more time in August. Then I should be free and be able to put this year of knee pain behind me. #sograteful

 In the Kitchen

Cedar Planked Salmon
Pine Nut Basil Pesto
Strawberry Jam
Since my knee is so much stronger, I have thrown myself back into my first love - cooking. I am determined to cross off as many of these recipes as I can this summer. To that end I have created a menu plan for each week:
MONDAYS Chicken and a side dish 
FRIDAYS Pork or Beef

So far it has been amazingly helpful. I just plan the three main dinners for the week and the rest falls easily into place. We are ticking off the bucket list and I am feeling creative at the same time.

Meals This Week
MONDAY Goat Cheese Chicken Breasts, Hassleback grilled potatoes, salad
TUESDAY smoked turkey subs
FRIDAY Pulled Pork, Baked Beans, Apple Pie, American Flag Cookie Cake
SATURDAY eat out
SUNDAY Tortilla EspaƱola, Gazpacho, Tinto de Verano

Looking forward to

The 4th of July (and USA vs Belgium)
Our epic road trip to South Dakota and North Dakota at the end of the month.

Sharing and getting more inspiration here:

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