Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Hodgepodging With My Favorites

Welcome to this week's edition of The Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered today's questions, add your link at the end of my post then go say howdy to your neighbor there. 

Doing something a little different two daughters are both in the house, same time-same place (whoohoo!), which doesn't happen nearly as often as we'd like. They're going to answer the HP questions with me today. They both have blogs (linked in my sidebar), but not a lot of time for it in this current season so we're all in it together this week. I didn't let them do too much thinking (as opposed to my ever overthinking), they just answered on the spot.  

Here we go-

From this Side of the Pond

1. What is an adult problem nobody prepared you for? 

me-how many difficult decisions need to be made as our parents age, the weight of that. 

D1-the ridiculous number of times I've had to change my address on all my mail, cards, billing,'s not really a problem but it is annoying. 

D2- this is parenting specific, but how inconvenient it is to run a really quick errand with two kids in car seats. For instance if I need to drop something at UPS I can't just run in and do it in 30 seconds. I have to unbuckle two kids and bring them in with me. No more just popping in someplace for a quick second. 

2. Without mentioning any tech, what's your most prized possession?

me-thinking what would I grab in the event of a fire and I always come back to my wedding album. I'm sure I own many more valuable items, but that's always the first thing that comes to mind. 

D1-I can't think of a thing. Even my photo books I could reprint if something happened to them. But I would miss those books. 

D2-pretty much anything can be replaced. I'll say my wedding rings...if there's a tornado watch when I go to bed I wear my rings so I don't have to fumble around for them if a watch becomes a warning. 

3. It's National Peach Ice Cream Day (July 17th). Will you be celebrating? Do you like peaches? 

me-I love peaches, and we've been celebrating all week. We made homemade peach ice cream on Sunday and still have some in the freezer.  

D1-Yes I love peaches, they're my favorite fruit. And we have peach ice cream. Peach is my favorite flavor of homemade. Will I celebrate? Yes I'll eat more peach ice cream. 

D2-I won't because I'm currently not eating dairy. We're getting some Nitrogen ice cream later this week and they have a non-dairy option, but I probably won't get peach.

Given a choice would you prefer peach ice cream, peach pie, peach cobbler, or just hand me a peach? 

me-of the choices mentioned peach cobbler is my favorite. I am planning to make one tomorrow (Wednesday) as my mom and sister are coming for dinner. I like Paula Deen's recipe (linked here). It feeds a crowd! 

D1-peach cobbler, that's my go-to dessert to make for people

D2-peach cobbler with ice cream. 

Do you own anything that is peach in color? 

me-there's a bit of a joke in my family about a peachy colored shirt I owned that seemed to be in every photo I was in for a few years. I think it was more tangerine than peach but I do like the color peach. Actually the bridesmaids in my wedding wore peach dresses. 

When I lived in the UK someone from a bridal magazine there stumbled across a blog post where I posted a picture of the dresses. They contacted me and asked if they could use my picture in an article. It seems peach was making a comeback in the wedding world, but of course as she put it, 'an updated touch of peach'.

D1-Do I have anything peach? No.

D2-Mom are you going to say that peach shirt? I don't think I own anything peach. 

4. What makes a friendship successful? 

me-making the effort to stay in touch for one. We're all busy, personally we've moved a bunch so some of our friends are geographically far from us, but we talk on the phone periodically, we text, we ask about one another's lives and genuinely care and want to hear what's going on with that other person.  And then the characteristics that make any relationship successful apply to friendship as well-kindness, compassion, common interests or seasons of life, selflessness...

D1-A successful friendship is one that can survive distance and time. My oldest friend and I try to speak on the phone once a week or so. We haven't been able to see one another in person since before either of us became mothers and yet it doesn't matter.  I know when we are finally able to sit down in the same room it will feel like no time apart. We've now just said goodbye to the dear friends we made in Ohio that I promised myself we'll stay close to. It will require intention and putting things on calendars in advance and inconvenience but it's worth it. 

- I would say being understanding of one another's life seasons. Meaning I'm in a season with babies and some of my friends have older kids or no kids, so understanding that. A lot of my friendships are long distance, so making an effort to stay in contact, but also not putting too much pressure on anyone to be in constant contact. Be the friend you want to have. That's good advice for children and works for me too. 

5. Let's give our brains a rest and do a little summertime this or that...beach or pool? ice cream or snow cone? amusement park or camping? burger or hot dog? watermelon or strawberries? get up early or sleep in late? sunrise or sunset?

Beach or pool? 

me-it's a tough call, but probably the beach
D1- beach wait, the beach.

Ice Cream or snow cone- 

me- snow cone  
D1-  ice cream 
D2-ice cream

amusement park or camping- 

D1- camping
well, look at us with the same answer, and it's camping no less

burger or hot dog-

D1- burger
D2-hot dog

watermelon or strawberries-

D1- strawberries

get up early or sleep in late-

D1- sleep in late 
D2-sleep in late

sunrise or sunset-

me-I love a sunset, but sunrise is my favorite 
D1- sunset..if I'm not getting up early I'll miss the sunrise
D2-sunset (see answer above) 

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

Having so much fun with these girls and their busy adorable noisy offspring in the house and on the water  this week. 

Happy Wednesday everyone! 

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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 560

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to share answers. See you there! 

1. What is an adult problem nobody prepared you for? 

2. Without mentioning any tech, what's your most prized possession? 

3. It's National Peach Ice Cream Day (July 17th). Will you be celebrating? Do you like peaches? Given a choice would you prefer peach ice cream, peach pie, peach cobbler, or just hand me a peach? Do you own anything that is peach in color? 

4. What makes a friendship successful? 

5. Let's give our brains a rest and do a little summertime this or that...beach or pool? ice cream or snowcone? amusement park or camping? burger or hot dog? watermelon or strawberries? get up early or sleep in late? sunrise or sunset? 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Monday, July 15, 2024

Hello Monday-ish

Or maybe it's already Tuesday, but regardless, hello.  

I'm joining Holly and Sarah today for their Hello Monday link up. Here's the 411 on our weekend-

We had a meeting Friday morning with a local landscaping company as we are trying to sort out an enormous project in the back yard. It did not start out to be enormous, but it's grown as these things do when you're married to my hubs. We have a slope in the back that needs improvement/correcting and next thing you know we're adding a patio, a water feature, and an outdoor kitchen. 

None of that was in the original budget so now we're negotiating. Hubs is negotiating. We'll see how this goes. Stay tuned.

I had a mani/pedi Friday afternoon which is always so nice, and also felt necessary after the morning meeting.  

Saturday morning I finished pulling out some of the things I keep put away when the kids aren't here. The pack n' play, the toddler bed, stools for the bathrooms, the toy box and, this year I pulled out a bin of beanie babies I've saved that the littles haven't ever seen. I knew it was in the attic and when I lifted the lid the first thing I saw were four mostly naked Barbies. 

Question for you-Barbie and co. have amazing wardrobes. Why are they always unclothed?  

Look at all the beanies! I remember my girls cutting the tags off but most of these still have the TY tag. My daughter said she remembers Aladdin and the Mermaid were bathtub Barbies so maybe that explains the state of dress here.  

Hubs and I were going to take the boat out on Saturday to meet friends, but the meet up spot was too rough for my liking so we came home and I called my sister to catch up instead. Then of course the news broke about the tragedy at the Trump rally so we ended up mostly watching news the rest of the evening. 

What a world we are living in. 

The kids rolled in Sunday. Daughter2, her hubs, and their crew arrived from Tennessee and my daughter1 and her crew from just down the road as they'd been with the other grandparents the week before. Daughter1's hubs is finishing out his fellowship in Cincy, but we'll have a couple of days with him at the lake before they leave for England later next week.

Can you tell there are people in the house? 

We made homemade peach ice cream for dessert and spent some time just hanging out on the patio while hubs grilled dinner. 

The littlest ones played in the wading pool and the big kids played ball and tried out the hula hoops. 

His momma still has serious hula hoop skills so he's learning from the best. 

After dinner we jumped in the lake and everyone had a big time and were good and tired for bed. 

The kids too. 

Monday morning daughter2's in-laws came by with her grand-in-laws in tow. That would be the in-laws parents, so her kids great-grandparents. I made a sour cream coffee cake and everyone embraced the crazy that is five kids under seven in the house. 

They left around 11 and we loaded up the pool bags, the noodles, lunch in a cooler, everyone's personalized towels Nana orders as soon as you're born-

...the goggles, sunscreen, the stroller, babies in car seats, plus four adults (we were outnumbered by one) and headed up to our neighborhood pool to spend a couple of hours. 

Lots of fun was had by all, then the girls and I brought the three littlest home for naps and Pawpaw stayed with the two big boys to swim some more. They walked home from the pool then spent another hour in the lake on the paddle boards. 

It helps to have a low center of gravity. Just sayin'. The girls and I had iced coffee on the porch and the boys chilled with a movie while the babies napped. 

Fun in the summer sun with my favorite people. 

I highly recommend. 

Friday, July 12, 2024

TGIFriday Favorites

I should be doing about a hundred things, but let's blog about nothing too important instead. I like to say that's my niche. I'm linking up today with Friday Favorites (A Little Bit of Everything and Momfessionals) to share a few things I'm loving lately. 

1. We made this fabulous pasta dish a couple of weeks ago and we both absolutely loved it. I took pics along the way, but of course never posted any so here ya go-

Hubs stumbled across a reel on Instagram by a chef named Cesar de la Parra and we decided to give his recipe for Spicy Vodka Pasta a try. It's all in Spanish but there's a translate option at the end. 

After you add the vodka the instructions were to set it on fire, which is always fun. 

Muy deliciosa! 

Except I want to say molto delizioso! because isn't this dish Italian? No matter, just know it's a keeper. 

2. When the grands come to the lake we always try to have some new little fun things for them to play with. One thing we bought this time around is a giant Connect Four (Pottery Barn) for the patio, and I look forward to winning  playing lots of games with the two oldest boys these next couple of weeks. They might be almost 7 and not quite 5, but they get their competitive spirit from their Nana and play to win too. 

3. The outdoor shower. When we built our house we knew we wanted an outdoor shower. 

The carpenters assigned to this part of the project spoke very little English so we kind of pantomimed what we were going for and y'all... 

You could have a party in here.  

Watching them construct this door was one of the more entertaining parts of the entire home build. Pretty sure this door is as deep as what you'd find on the vault at Fort Knox lol.

If hubs had a summer bucket list, near the top would be this-no indoor showers between May and October.  So far so good. 

And you can't beat the view!  

4. My hydrangeas. They took a beating this year, mostly because the deer got to them before we realized what was happening, so they grew a bit wonky. 

The blooms are still beautiful though. 

5. I am loving this little bed on the side of our lower patio. 

Here's the view from above-

It's all hubs doing, he's got the green thumb, and has added something to this space every year for the past few years. We have a hummingbird feeder on the upper deck, but he added a second one here and the hummingbirds flit back and forth between the two. This space is lush and soothing.

6. Our wine club.

We've belonged to a wine club for several years here at the lake, and it's gone through some changes recently. My hubs is the current President and it's been quite the job managing said changes, and he is exactly the right person for this role at this time. 

        smoked lamb chop, yukon gold potato puree, rosemary demi glace, English pea reduction

The venue we used for twelve years decided in January to no longer host any events (not just ours), so we've had to find a new location. Not an easy thing to do in 'the country'.    

 pistachio crusted Chilean Sea Bass, smoked gouda risotto, charred fennel grapefruit relish 

We meet once a month for a five course dinner with wine pairings and last night was our first gathering in the new space. Everything was so good!  The food and wine were both  five *****. 

  candied pecan croissant bread pudding 

The chef at the new venue is fantastic and I loved every course. Besides what's pictured there was a scrumptious smoked salmon salad topped with crispy leeks and a seared duck breast with a chipoltle honey cream. Honestly I could have eaten an entire plate of the sea bass and a big bowl of the bread pudding and called it a day, it was that good. 

7. The sunrise. I think you know I'm obsessed. 

How can you not be? 

Have a great weekend everyone! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Young At Heart In The Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week's edition of The Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered today's questions add your link at the end of my blog. Be sure to visit your neighbors on the list as comments make the blog world go round. Here we go- 

From this Side of the Pond
1. Do you feel older or younger than your age? Elaborate. 

Hmmm...depends on the day and what's happening. While I don't feel like a 20-something I also don't feel four decades beyond that either. Physically there are definitely days I feel my age. On the inside I'm still younger than the calendar claims. 

I think about this quite a bit as my mom and my mother-in-law are three decades ahead of me, yet I know they still feel young at heart. It's frustrating to have your thoughts and opinions discounted or unappreciated because of a number when on the inside you are still the girl you always were. I feel this too. 

2. What's one thing you should toss right now, but just can't?

I have several dresses I feel like I should part with, but there they hang...still in my closet. They fit, and are mostly classic in style, but I never wear them because they have been worn and worn and worn and sometimes you just want new. 

3. Have you visited many of the 63 National Parks in the US of A? You'll find a list here. Do you have a favorite? What National Park that you haven't seen do you most want to see? 

We've visited some, but not nearly as many as I'd like to see. A trip out west (Yellowstone and Grand Tetons) is high on my 'to-see' list. My hubs grew up just outside of the Smoky Mountain National Park and we've spent a lot of time there. It's for sure a favorite. 

I had to go in search of a photo because I have literally dozens of us at various ages and stages in the Smoky Mountains, but here's where I landed-

Be still my heart. I think this must be 1992 and y'all those babies on my lap now have babies this very same age. The absolute sweetest days. Then and now. 

Also there's my God given hair color. 
Carry on. 

Acadia is another favorite, definitely one of the prettiest places in America. I've also been to the Rocky Mountains many times as my grandparents lived on a Colorado farm with a view, Shenandoah (ooh, that's another favorite...they're all favorites I guess)...Mt. Rainier, The Everglades, The many beautiful places. My sister and niece were in Joshua Tree recently and they loved that. I've been to California a few times so not sure I'll get to that one, but never say never. 

4. How often do you get take out? What's your favorite? 

There's basically no take out where I live. I mean there is I suppose, but by the time you get home with take out it's cold so you may as well eat there. We don't even have pizza delivery. We either cook at home or go to a restaurant. There's not a lot of in-between. I keep a frozen pizza here for when we want pizza, but on the whole we don't miss take-out. 

Well okay, occasionally I might pine for pizza delivery, but mostly we have adjusted expectations and it's all good. There is so much to love about living on a lake, and I have a grocery store and all other life 'necessities' within an 8-10 mile radius so I don't pine too much over the no-delivery. 

My favorite would be Thai or Chinese but it's not happening here. We do have a Thai restaurant we enjoy so if we want Thai we just eat there. 

5. Do you have many (or any) subscriptions? Not necessarily magazines, but thinking more along the lines of boxes or products that companies offer, and you can sign up to receive on a regular basis. Could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, even daily. Tell us about them. 

I have several subscription boxes. I've been ordering Home Chef a couple of times a month since the Covid nonsense, but am going to cancel that one at the end of the month. We recently bought a chest freezer so I've started a meat subscription to Good Ranchers and will do that instead. 

Not the same thing, but honestly we're not enjoying the Home Chefs as much as we did in the beginning. If you're looking for lower calorie/lower sodium content the options are few. And I never order any of the steak entrees because we're picky about our steak. 

We've ordered random boxes from Good Ranchers and like their product. It's all American ranchers and farmers and the quality is excellent. I started a subscription that included free Wagyu beef patties in every box for a year, plus a $100 dollar/box savings over the course of four orders. I signed up for a delivery every six weeks, but you can pause or cancel at any time. My box includes ground beef, chicken, sirloin, and flat iron steak, plus the free burgers. They always have specials so check for one before you order. The podcasters Allie Beth Stuckey and Alisa Childers both always have codes you can use too. 

I subscribe to Lovery for my youngest grands, and I get a Stitch Fix box once a quarter which I enjoy. I get a Grove box once a month, although some months I skip depending on what we've been doing. I get trash bags, dishwasher soap, dish soap, dog treats, dog bags, toilet bowl cleaner, and a few other odds and ends from them and it's nice not to have to add those items to my grocery cart when I shop in person. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Well I have a million things to do to get ready for next week, but instead I spent a good part of today (Tuesday) putting together a photo book from a trip we took in 2017. 

I'm on top of things. 

In 2017 we drove up the coast of California from San Francisco all the way to Tacoma Washington, where my daughter1 was living at the time, and every time I look at my photos I think 'I should really make that album.' 

My daughter makes beautiful family yearbooks with Mpix and I had a 40% off coupon sitting in my email that expires today, so I made a book. It was time consuming and I'm so glad I have my blog, because I wrote about the trip in great detail when it happened and that helped me get the album in chronological order, and also remember the names of all the tiny towns we drove through. 

Still a long to-do list, but tomorrow is another day. 

Also, in 2022 we drove up the California coast from San Diego to San Francisco and once I see how this  album turns out I'm determined to get Volume 2 done as well. Before another seven years pass I mean. 

Have a great day everyone! 

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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 559

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back here tomorrow to add your link to the party. See you there! 

1. Do you feel older or younger than your age? Elaborate. 

2. What's one thing you should toss right now, but just can't? 

3. Have you visited many of the 63 National Parks in the US of A? You'll find a list here. Do you have a favorite? What National Park that you haven't seen do you most want to see? 

4. How often do you get take out? What's your favorite? 

5. Do you have many (or any) subscriptions? Not necessarily magazines, but thinking more along the lines of boxes or products that companies offer, and you can sign up to receive on a regular basis. Could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, even daily. Tell us about them. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Monday, July 8, 2024

A Post-Holiday Hello Monday

Hello friends and happy Monday. 

I'm joining Holly and Sarah for a post-holiday weekend reap today. I took so many pictures of the beautiful sky this weekend I might just post them all. 

I have a hair appointment this morning which is going to throw off my entire day, but I had to take what was available. I had to cancel my normal appointment in order to go to my daughter's house a couple of weeks ago, so I'm overdue and my stylist is fitting me in today. Do you have to book your hair appointments three at a time in order to be sure you get on the calendar, because that's what I have to do?

So how was your holiday weekend? Ours was really fun with a lot of time spent in the water because it was HOT!

Hubs brother and sister-in-law arrived on Wednesday afternoon on their way home from the beach. They brought four pounds of fresh shrimp with them, which we promptly deveined and cooked to have with our dinner. 

They lived in the Chicago area three different times and know their Portillo beef, so they also treated us to dinner Wednesday night by sending a 'to go' order to the southland. If you're a Chicagoan then I don't have to explain, but for those who are not here's the 411-

Portillos beef is a slow-roasted, thinly sliced, beef served on baked Turano French bread. The bread is key. The standard way to serve the sandwich is to put the beef on the roll, splash it with some of their secretly-spiced gravy and then have a cup of gravy on the side for dipping. It's even better topped with their oven-roasted sweet peppers and the hot giardiniera peppers which we love. 

My neighbors joined us because they also have Chicago ties and I wish I'd taken a picture but it's a bit of a production getting it all put together. I'd made a cucumber salad and we all sat around our outdoor table and it was a low-key fun way to kick off the holiday weekend.

We woke up on Independence Day and had coffee on the deck, then spent most of the rest of the day in the lake. It was HOT! but the water temp was perfect. 

For our July 4th dinner hubs grilled ribs to perfection and I made baked beans, cole slaw, and a roasted corn salad, plus there was  more shrimp. 

I made a frozen strawberry pie for dessert, which doesn't actually contain any strawberries, but does have a strawberry topping so I guess the name fits?  I made the Alex Guarnaschelli's recipe linked here.

It does contain mashed raspberries which are what give it the pretty pink color, and the pie is really light and tasty. Also refreshing, which was the name of the game this weekend.

It was HOT!! 

My across the cove neighbor does a ginormous fireworks show and boats start coming to our cove and to the water just outside our cove about an hour before. A neighbor asked if they could tie up to our dock and we said sure and they asked if they could bring a few people as they had friends at their house, and we said sure and y'all!!!

They floated over on a boat filled with 28 people and a few more in a car and it was ka-razy! 
Fun for sure, but also ka-razy!

Kids peeled off that boat and scattered like ants. Adults too! 
God bless America! 

The fireworks display was its usual fabulous happening which we all enjoyed, and then one of the adults who had come by car (and who we did not know) announced she had dropped her keys in the lake. 


Their car was parked at the top of our driveway, and there it sat until 4 PM the next day. It would have been moved earlier except her brother who arrived from an hour away brought the wrong key so...

All's well that ends well, right? Lol!

We had nowhere to be on Friday except the lake so it was just a funny thing to us. Maybe not so much to the person who dropped the keys, but we spent the day boating and swimming. Late afternoon the most delightful storm rolled in and we sat on the screened porch listening to it roar, feeling the humidity drop to an acceptably breathable level.

I love a storm on the lake, so long as we're all tucked safely indoors. 

Hubs grilled steaks for dinner and afterwards we sat on the deck and watched the sun make a perfectly pink exit. 

Family left Saturday morning, then hubs had some real estate-ing to do for a fair chunk of the day. I put the house mostly back in order, did five loads of laundry, cleaned out the frig, and took care of some paperwork that needed taking care of. 

We have a busy week filled with meetings and appointments and readying the house and the pantry for a big wave of family who will begin arriving this coming weekend. We can't wait to have all the grands here!! 

We also know we need to eat our Wheaties, fill our frig and our sleep tanks to overflowing, and get our steps in so we're in tip top form to keep up with the under six set. No grass grows under their feet when they're here and we gotta keep up!  

Hope your holiday weekend was grand!