Hot Summer Weather

Can you believe summer is almost over?? The weather has been all over the place this year, it feels like summer just started!

I am not ready for it to be fall yet (even though I do love fall too), but summer is my favorite season!!! Hot weather, sun bathing and going to the lake, what’s not to love? I guess I passed this love down to Bubba… What do you think? Here are some photos of our summer fun to send you on to your Holiday Weekend!

Water table from Nana & Papa!

Water table from Nana & Papa!

So excited to get in the pool, Bubs wouldn’t even wait for me to get his swimsuit on!

Swimming in my clothes!

Swimming in my clothes!

Pool Time!

Pool Time!

Looks like a good day for a swim…

Checking out the water

Checking out the water

Time to get in…

Checking the water temp

Checking the water temp

DSC_1716

Refreshing!

Bubs just LOVES to be outside, even if we aren’t playing in the pool…

Sandbox from Grandma & Grandpa!

Sandbox from Grandma & Grandpa!

DSC_1719

Handfuls of sand… at least its INTO the sandbox this time!

We have been trying to show Bubba how to bury his feet in the sand, I am not sure he gets it quite yet…

DSC_1722

Attempting to bury his foot…

Baby Girl likes the sandbox too… she is also a photo bomber (I’ll show that in another post!)

Baby Girl photo bomb

Baby Girl photo bomb

More outdoor fun!!

photo 1 photo 4 photo 1 photo 5 photo 4 photo 2 photo 3

I am not sure if you all agree with me, but I think that might have been cuteness OVERLOAD!!

I am looking forward to this weekend, we will be spending it with family & close friends! I think Bubba is REALLY going to like swimming in the lake!!

Do you have any plans for Labor Day Weekend??

Advertisements

Homemade Bread Part II

Last week I attempted to make homemade Honey Oat Bread. It didn’t turn out exactly as planned (you can read about it here). This week I decided to try again, and this time with brand new yeast.

I didn’t take as many pictures this time, since all the steps were the same as the first attempt.

DSCN0289

Dry Ingredients

Once all the ingredients were combined, and the dough was formed, I placed it in the bowl to rise.

Dough Before

Dough Before

Dough After 30 min

Dough After 30 min

DSCN0294

Dough After 30 min

YAY!!! It actually looks like it doubled this time!!! I guess using expired yeast does matter! 🙂

Bread Pan Before

Bread Pan Before

Bread Pan After 30 min

Bread Pan After 30 min

Yay!!! It rose again, just like it was supposed to!! Things are looking up…. time to pop this baby in the oven!

DSCN0298

Bursting out of the bread pan!

DSCN0299

It turned out PERFECT!!! Look how large the loaf is this time??

DSCN0301

I am ready for my taste test!!!

YUM!

YUM!

The bread is AMAZING!! (Not that it didn’t taste good the first time) My first attempt created a very dense, doughy bread, this time it is so much lighter!

Ok, so I learned that the expiration date on yeast is no joke there for a reason! I think I will still be purchasing metal bread pans, as the bread was still slightly doughy on the bottom in the center, and I think I could fix that by using a metal pan. I’ll keep you posted! I plan to make more later this week for Labor Day weekend!!

Do you have any baking tips or tricks to share?

Lawn Care

BAD seasonal Allergies & lawn care do NOT mix!

Hubby does most of the lawn care, as I have horrible seasonal allergies. That being said, I still contribute to the lawn care with ideas, some weeding and landscaping. This year I have been stricter about what we put on our lawn, I have always worried about Baby Girl & the lawn chemicals, but now that Bubba crawls in the lawn too, I am even more strict! I looked into Organic weed control, but honestly, it really doesn’t do much, and we had OUT.OF.CONTROL. dandelions this year! We ended up doing the first step of “Scotts Weed & Feed“, that took care of the dandelions, but since we haven’t continued through the steps, we have gotten other weeds in the lawn. At least many of these weeds are green and when freshly mowed, look like grass, so we have just left them alone!

This summer has been an odd one, weather wise, its been extremely hot & humid, then cold & rainy, then back to hot & humid… all that weird weather has seemed to make mushrooms grow… I feel like I live in Alice & Wonderland!

photo-27

my backyard

Bubba was VERY interested in the mushrooms, which made me VERY nervous…luckily, Baby Girl leaves them completely alone, so no worries with her. Hubby pulled the mushrooms as soon as he got home from work, that way we didn’t have to worry about them anymore! Let’s hope no more come or I will be looking for Alice!

Do you have any green lawn care tips to share?

Household Cleaners vs. Household Chemicals

Have you ever taken the time to read the ingredients of your household cleaners? (Well, the ingredients that they actually list??) There is a reason it is very “in” to buy green cleaners now! If your curious about your household chemicals cleaners, check this website, it helps explain what they are and what they are made of!

Personally, I love Seventh Generation products, but they are a bit pricey, so I have been learning to make my own (you can find TONS of ideas & “recipes” on Pinterest!)! I am starting out slow… so far I have made my own dishwasher detergentbathroom tub & tile cleaner, drain de-clogger, and dishwasher cleaner. There are so many others I want to make! Currently we have plenty of cleaning supplies in our house, so once those need replacing I will work on making my own.

Dishwasher Detergent

Dishwasher Detergent

Shower Cleaner

Bathroom Tub & Tile Cleaner

I think all of these work great!  (for tough drain clogs, you may have to use this recipe multiple time) The dishwasher detergent is a LARGE quantity, I don’t think we will need dishwasher detergent EVER again…

Have you made any homemade cleaners that have worked great??

Homemade Bread

I am always looking for recipes that are easy and healthy. I am obsessed in love with Pinterest, i’ve been busy pinning recipes that are easy to make at home AND use whole foods, not chemical-filled, processed foods. So when I found this bread recipe, I was dying to try it out!

Of course, I’ve never made bread from scratch before, so this really was a learning experience. I FINALLY had time to try it out today while Bubba was napping! Here goes nothing…

DSC_1654I’ve read that this is the BEST flour to use and it comes in ORGANIC (even better)!

I got all my supplies ready…

DSC_1655

Totally off subject, but the bowls with the blue stripe on them were my moms, she gave them to me when the hubby and I bought our house. I’ve always LOVED them and I just found out they were actually my great-grandma’s! Anyway, back to the bread…

DSC_1657(I’m new to this whole “food photography” thing, but I really like this picture.)

DSC_1660

DSC_1661I am a little obsessed with my Kitchen Aid mixer, I love when recipes call for it’s use!!

dough, before it rises

dough, before it rises

The next step says to let the dough rise for 30 min-1 hour, covered.

DSC_1669

Ok, so I waited 30 min, and the dough looked no different, so I waited some more… then Bubs woke up from his nap… so the dough actually had about 1 hour and 45 min to rise.

DSC_1670

I am not sure it looks much different than the before picture, do you? I moved on anyways, I figured if it hadn’t risen yet, it wasn’t going to!

DSC_1671Now that the bread is in the bread pan, I let it sit (per the recipe) for 45 min… it was supposed to rise again.. if it did, it wasn’t much… again, I moved on!

DSC_1672It looks pretty good, doesn’t it? It smells AMAZING, actually it has made the entire house smell AMAZING!!

Taste-test time! I could barely wait for it to cool, I was so excited to try it (not to mention my mouth had been watering since it was baking!).

DSC_1675As you can probably tell, it isn’t as large as the original recipe, I am not sure it even looks like a slice of bread!? I have no idea what caused the issues, maybe the fact that the yeast expired a week ago (oops!)? Or maybe because I used a silicone bread pan? Or maybe because its hot outside, so I have the A/C on, so very little humidity in the house? I have a feeling it might have been all of those reasons, but oh well, it still tasted GREAT! I am going to try it again later this week, hopefully I will get better results!!

Any recipes that you have found on Pinterest that haven’t turned out as well as you had hoped?

Party’s Over…

Birthday Boy!

Well… the party is over and is it ever! I am so glad everything turned out so good! Bubs was very spoiled and got some GREAT gifts! We had tons of food, so we sent family home with leftovers… no one seemed to want any cake for the road though!? So what does that mean? The hubby and I picked at it… I was pretty much “caked-out”, but he was able to “not let it all go to waste”! Once he was done pigging out eating it, we threw the rest away!!

The day after Bubba’s party was Father’s Day, so we were running around all day. Brunch with my parents then dinner with the hubby’s parents. By the time we got home we were exhausted! We put Bubs to bed, got ready for Monday morning, then went to bed ourselves! I have to say, Monday came WAY.TOO.FAST!!!

Monday was Bubba’s actual birhtday, we had a very “chill” night. We gave Bubs his presents from us, relaxed in front of the TV and ate dinner. Dinner was leftovers from Bubs party, the hubby had ice cream and I had some frosting (right out of the container) for dessert! Frosting is definitely one of my weaknesses…. the cake is ok, but the frosting?, the frosting is the BEST part of cake!! Knowing how out of control I would continue to be while the leftover frosting was in the fridge, I felt the need to get rid of it ASAP….

frostingI know, I know… I should have done the green thing and rinsed out the containers and recycled them… but I just had to get rid of them as soon as possible so I would STOP eating it!!! Totally a “green fail”, but sometimes we got to do what we got to do!

What are some of your weaknesses when it comes to food??

Bubba’s First Birthday

I can not believe my baby is one year old already! Where did the last year go?? Of course the first birthday party always has to be a big deal, so I spent probably 2 months planning it! Bubba loves the water and loves his sea creature bath toys, so I chose to do an “Under The Sea” theme for the party!

Sea Creature Bath Toys

Sea Creature Bath Toys

I made the invitations and mailed them out, then was explaining the invites to a friend, she told me she had some decorations leftover from her son’s baptism party. It just so happened that the colors she used and the colors I chose were the same, so she let me borrow her decorations!

IMG_3624

Reused Poof Balls

Reused Poof Balls

Although I reused some of my friend’s party decorations, Bubba’s party wasn’t exactly green. I ordered paper plates, cups and napkins that I found online that had sea creatures on them! Paper products just seemed easier for a child’s birthday party, that was held outside. I also made a paper banner for the wall and one for his highchair! We did use our real silverware, real glasses for the “Adult beverages” and real dishes for the food buffet.

RAS_3257

DSC_3344

I made the cake myself, it didn’t turn out as great as I hoped (I tried to achieve the same Ombre effect that I did on his cake for his cake smash photoshoot, but it just didn’t come out as nice), but it was cute and tasted great (which is all that really matters, right?)! I even made candy sea creatures to use on the cake!

DSC_3333We didn’t have a huge party, just family, but all-in-all it was a perfect day!

Family photo

Family photo

When you plan a party, do you go for what’s easy or do you try to stay green?

Cake Smash!

We decided to do a cake smash photo shoot with Bubba, before his big day! I wanted to be able to capture his reactions to the cake, and to have a chance to “practice” eating/smashing the cake before his party (sometimes he can be a bit weird by messy food on his hands).

Birthday Boy!

Birthday Boy!

I made the cake myself, and found the ombre icing tutorial here. I think it turned out great!! (not as great as the woman’s that I tried to copy, but pretty good for my first try!)

DSC_1497

DSC_1505

After I took some pictures of the cake, we presented it to Bubba… he was a little unsure at first…

First taste

First taste

DSC_1523

He REALLY liked the candle… he wanted it, but wanted to make sure it was ok that he took it!

DSC_1530Very unsure about the cake…. should I eat it? Am I going to get into trouble??

DSC_1532

Daddy had to push his hand into the cake to get him to understand he was allowed to touch it!

DSC_1541Now he is getting the hang of it…

DSC_1544He LOVED the candle…

DSC_1548

DSC_1552

DSC_1563As you can see, Momma & Daddy ate some of the cake too… don’t get me wrong, Bubba did some damage on his own, but we wanted some cake before he completely destroyed it!!

After this photo session it was BATH TIME!! Can you imagine why?? I am so glad we did a “cake smash” (practice session)! It was loads of fun and helped Bubba understand he could touch the cake when his party happened the next day!

Did you do a cake smash photo session for your child’s first birthday??

Florida Trip 2013

The hubby and I took Bubba on his first vacation in March. My parents have a place on Anna Maria Island, in Florida, so we flew (Bubba’s first plane ride!) down and stayed with them for a week. They are in the City of Anna Maria, which is the smallest, quietest, city on the island. The City of Anna Maria is becoming very eco-concious and has an awesome shopping district that is green!!

First Plane Ride

Bubba’s First Plane Ride

The shopping district is on Pine Avenue, and is called “The Greenest Little Main Street in America”! New buildings are created with rock solid energy efficiency in mind! From tankless water heaters, to ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms), the buildings are made to conserve energy and withstand the island weather! It is important to the City of Anna Maria to keep the historic shopping district intact, allowing small shops, cafes, and vacation cottages to continue to populate Pine Avenue.

Daddy & Bubba

Daddy & Bubba during a coffee stop

Florida Trip

Our family standing on the City Pier

Mike and Lizzie Thrasher are leading the Green movement on Pine Avenue. They have turned 8 vacation rentals into solar-powered homes, as well as, created sustainable businesses. You can read about their work here. The sustainable business that caught my eye while we were walking the street, was the Village Cafe. Underneath the outdoor deck is a giant water bladder that collects rainwater and uses it to flush the toilets and run the irrigation system! How amazing is that!?

Rain Water

I think the efforts put forward by the Thrasher’s is awesome, to say the least! Have any of you encountered an amazing green place while on vacation?