Extra Favorites for July!

We get an extra Friday in July . . . yahoo!!

Good thing since I already feel like this year is coming to a close rather quickly. Is anyone else getting nervous about seeing Halloween and Christmas decorations in some stores? I am and this is coming from a person that loves Halloween, fall and decorating for holidays in general.

As Susan Powter use to say, “STOP THE INSANITY!!”

I think we should all remember that summertime is still here and talk about all the things we love while also enjoying warm weather. I love, sleeping outside at night, I love swimming in cool water, I love grilling everything or having all things iced. I feel it perfectly acceptable to indulge in one of my favorite treats: ice cream. I love sandals, maxi dresses and being less encumbered with clothing. I pretty much love summer and I will be very sad to see it go especially since there is much that I still want to do before the nights get shorter. What makes summer special for you?


I decided that this last week I was going to share with you a few of things that I have made for the family and I have to admit up front; I didn’t take pictures of everything and some of the pictures are horrible mostly because I had a family that was hungry and it was late at night.


  1. Sunday meal of Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs: I was so tired and the thought of cooking anything more then throwing things into the slow cooker actually made me want to cry. However, the good news is–the kids loved it! They actually ate their dinner without the usual fuss. Blow my mind!! I followed the recipe exactly but I did make a stove-top version of the sauce for more sauce in addition to what was in the slow cooker mostly because I served it straight out of the slow cooker and had doubled the recipe because we had so many people eating with us that I didn’t want anyone digging down just to get sauce for their rice. Also, I am not a red meat eater myself so I made a quick turkey patty and it was equally as good even though it hadn’t marinated in the sauce all afternoon. (No picture) 😦


  1. Apple Pie Bites: One night after dinner I decided to make something sweet for everyone but it had to be quick because I did not want to keep working in the kitchen. I saw this recipe, tried it and everyone was pretty happy. We did not serve them with ice cream (because I didn’t want to go to the store) but I did add a dollop of whipped cream.  IMG_5585


  1. I had a friend staying with me for a couple of weeks while her living situation was being sorted out. When she got ready to leave I decided to make her a nice sit down dinner so we had Sundried Tomato, Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Chicken along with Lemon Herb Roasted Potato Nuggets. It actually didn’t take much to pull it together but I looked beautiful and was wonderful to taste as well.  I did make one change and that was that I added a number of basil leaves from my garden to each breast as well.



  1. Smoothie Bar: Guess what. Our AC went out and actually it wasn’t horrific BUT no one wanted to be in the house cooking under any circumstance. I had everyone coming over for Sunday dinner again but I had just grilled burgers, pizza, ribs, dessert, etc. I really didn’t want to stand in front of anything hot no matter where it was so I decided it would be a make your own smoothie night and guess what . . . everyone went for it. We all had a cool drink that was filling and it allowed us to just sit outside in the breeze and talk for the evening.  (I allowed everyone to see my Pinterest board and find a smoothie that they wanted. The hands down favorites was the Chai Spiced Smoothie. Feel free to follow me on Pinterest so you can stay updated on all of my smoothies that I pin!)


  1. Last but not least; here are a few other things that I made throughout the month that are a worthy mention.

No-Bake Cream Cheese Pie with Summer Fruit


Blueberry Coffee Cake


Crumb Cake





Wedding Music

My sister is doing a fabulous job planning her upcoming wedding. It will be beautiful like she has always dreamed. However, she wanted some help with songs for her big shin-dig. I haven’t had any time to really think about this and get back to her so I am using this post as a way to finally answer her email.

When I think of my sister, these are the songs that I hear. What songs do you like to hear at weddings?

  1. The Heights–How do you Talk to an Angel

  2. Faith Hill–This Kiss

  3. Johnny Mathis–Chances Are

  4. Dean Martin–Memories Are Made of This

  5. Ana Gabriel–Eres Todo En Mi (You’re My Everything) I think every good dance should include something from the Latin world. Tango anyone? 🙂

P.S. This one for good measure. 🙂

Keeping Cool

It is the 3rd Friday of July so we have made it to the Places I’ve Been post. 🙂 The idea of what to post came to me yesterday while I was at the lake with the kids. I decided to share with you the first 5 of my favorite places to go swimming or at least frolic in the cold water. I have LOTS of favorite places to be in the water and will probably share more in the future.


Then we have a bonus post today on how the dog is keeping cool this summer. My friend has shared some of Bruno’s (the dog) antics on the Periscope app if any of you have it.




Tell me some of your favorite places to go swimming. I am always looking for a new place! Share also how your pets are keeping cool this summer. Everyone needs a great laugh to start their weekend!


  1. Crescent Bay California: I grew up in Southern California and one of our favorite places to go as a family for a day at the beach was this almost hidden gem. While it is not as hidden anymore it is still a favorite memory of ours.


  1. Heise Hot Springs Idaho: I knew my brother married my sister-in-law just so that I could become acquainted with this wonderful place. It is great all year round and is located in a beautiful setting right next the river.


  1. Manzanita Beach Oregon: I love this place. It is very low-key, has wonderful shops and places to eat, and all the while a great sandy beach to hang out on if it is a warm day outside.


  1. Lake Powell Utah: If you like heat and spending all of your time in the water, this is the place for you. It is very hot and you have to be smart but it is an incredible place to spend your time.


  1. Sunset Beach Hawaii: I have MANY beaches in Hawaii that I love but this really is a great beach to spend the day, watching the surfers and the sunset. Everyone has to come to this beach at least once in their lives.



Here is Bruno biting the hose. Do any of you have this problem with your dog? We can’t have him outside while the sprinklers are running for the same reason; HE BITES THEM AND WE HAVE TO REPLACE THEM. The funny thing is that he stays away from large bodies of water. Very opposite to what my chocolate lab Coco would do.


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Everyone Needs to Eat

The post is a day late . . . what?

Okay, so I realized that I hadn’t yet published my post for Friday until right before midnight last night. But you have to understand what was going on.

I prepared for interviews and had one in Seattle yesterday evening. 🙂


I had a baby to take care of and even resorted to driving him around between the 11 and midnight hour so he would finally stop fighting the urge to just fall asleep. 😦

So how was everyone’s 4th of July weekend? We had a lot of fun just hanging out as a family and doing nothing in particular. I even had my 7 year old niece help me with taking pictures at the firework show we went to at Thanksgiving Point. I thought she did an excellent job!

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What I did do was a lot of cooking. So here are 5 of the things that I made. I have attached the links to the original recipes that I worked from but below are pictures and helpful hints on how I made it.


Pretzel S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

  • Line your pan with foil . . . really . . . it make cutting them a lot easier
  • Don’t try cutting them 2 minutes after you take them out of the oven they are very gooey at first but will setup


California Breakfast Casserole

  • Make sure you really thaw your frozen hash browns and place them between paper towel to try and get the excess moisture out of them
  • I used turkey sausage links that I cut in half length-wise


Three-Cheese Potato & Rosemary Tarts

  • I only used two cheeses because I couldn’t find bocconcini in a store close to me
  • Make sure you use a mandolin to cut the potatoes so they are consistently the same width. The thinner the better.
  • We had extra after dinner so the next morning we scrambled eggs, reheated the tarts, topped them with the eggs and salsa and it was a very hearty breakfast dish.
  • Side note: To my American friends; don’t be afraid of the metric measurements. Consult the internet or your Betty Crocker Cookbook to see the conversions.


Baby Kale & Blackberry Salad

  • I have a person living with me that has a sulfur allergy so we couldn’t use the kale. I substituted with red leaf  and romaine lettuce.
  • I also substituted goat cheese for the ricotta salata
  • I made extra of the Rosemary Honeyed Almonds at the request of my mother. She has been snacking on them for a week but they need to be stored in an air tight container and when you have just finished coating them and they are soft, spread them out on a piece of parchment paper to cool so they won’t stick to your pan.


Watermelon Soda

  • Keep in mind that the sweeter the watermelon the less sugar you need to add and vice versa.
  • We used sparkling water and the adults loved it but the kids wanted it sweeter and we could have used ginger ale for them.