Tuesday, June 19, 2012

{Entertaining} Father's Day

There is nothing better than summer entertaining, especially on a beautiful night. Father's Day was just that -- not quite summer yet, but rather a preview of the weather we are spoiled with during this magical season. My family, minus my sister's clan, who live in Virginia, and my husband's family, who spent the weekend at the Jersey shore, was present for a super simple dinner party to celebrate the wonderful dads in our lives.

I set up a little table outside on our patio with drinks and appetizers. Using color is one way I like to add interest and appeal when I'm entertaining. Rather than using "manly" colors, I decided to go with turquoise, coral, pale yellow, and light lime -- pretty summer colors. I made basil crisps, which I posted a recipe for a few years ago. I also made a simple fruit salad of cantaloupe, watermelon, and blueberries and arranged that in white pot that I used almost two years ago for Dean's dedication.

I used an old fence from my father-in-law as a backdrop and hung a Superman inspired banner. If you are blessed enough to have a great dad like myself, you know he is a "Super" dad.

I recently found these stackable drink dispensers at Target. They are plastic, which makes them perfect for outdoor entertaining. I filled one with Strawberry Lemon Basil Infused water {something I saw on Pinterest}, and the other with Black Currant Iced Tea with mint {recipe from my mom and found here}.

I don't know about you, but I like my wine nice and cold {not that I'm drinking wine of any sort right now}. Rather than using ice cubes, freeze some grapes and use as your cubes. Another idea snagged from Pinterest -- brilliant and oh-so-simple. I speared about three grapes on a toothpick, put in the freezer overnight and voila.

Pinterest saves the day AGAIN -- ha! I found this poem about dads on their site and fell in love with it, so I digitally recreated it and displayed it on the appetizer and drink station.

Dinner couldn't have been more simple. I ordered hoagies from a local sandwich shop and sliced them, had chips, pickles, pasta salad and deviled eggs {made by my mom}. EASY! And to make it even better, I used Chinet plates and plastic utensils -- cleanup took about 5 minutes!

Last but not least, I served rootbeer floats for dessert. My dad LOVES floats, and not only are they a nice summer treat, but they remind me of him. I pre-scooped the ice cream into mason jars {just some old pizza sauce/salsa jars I've been rinsing out and saving since I have an obsession with mason jars}. All I had to do was pour some rootbeer over the ice cream when it was time for dessert.

I think easy is my new middle name ;-}

**Off to spend another summer day with my little mister! ENJOY your day!

Monday, June 18, 2012

{Recipes} Veggie Stirfry

One of my favorite meals for dinner is a veggie stirfry. My mom used to make them for our family when we were growing up, and now I make them for my own family. Combine the fresh veggies of the summer with chicken or sausage and serve over whole wheat pasta and you have yourself a tasty little meal. Dean loves them too -- notice his little hand snatching some noodles as I was snapping a quick pic -- HA!

~ 2 peppers, sliced into strips
~ 1/2 onion, sliced
~ 1 zucchini, sliced
~ 1 yellow squash, sliced
~ 1 fresh tomato, chopped
~ Fresh broccoli, steamed {I used leftover from dinner the night before -- frozen would work too}
**Any vegetables work here -- it's a matter of preference
~ Chicken bullion cube combined with about 1/4 cup hot water {this flavors the stirfry nicely}
~ S & P to taste
~ 1 lb. whole wheat ziti noodles {or any kind you prefer}

1. Fill a large pot with water and boil. Then cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. In a small frying pan, place your sausage on medium heat, turning every minute or so until mostly cooked all the way through.
3. In a large skillet or wok, place your sliced veggies with a little EVOO over medium heat. Add sliced sausage. Continue to turn the entire mixture for approximately 5 minutes.
4. Next, add your bullion cube with hot water. Bring heat up a little and continue to turn mixture for a few more minutes, making sure veggies do not become soggy.
5. Add a little S & P.
6. Once veggies are cooked through, dump entire mixture over pasta and sprinkle with parm cheese.
7. Serve with warm, crusty bread.

**I always have tons of leftovers when I make a stirfry -- great for lunches the next day!
**I'm officially OFF FOR THE SUMMER, have one week left of my LAST grad class EVER, and finally getting things done around my house -- feeling refreshed, relieved, and ready to enjoy the summer with my family!
**I hosted a simple Father's Day dinner -- pics & blog post tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

{Home Decorating} The Big Boy Room

Good morning! My husband and I have been talking about moving our two-year-old to our back bedroom, which is bigger than his nursery, and into a big boy bed this summer. I'm beyond nervous about this move. I think it's best to do it while I'm off for the summer and before we get too close to the arrival of the new baby this fall, but I'm dreading disrupting Dean's awesome sleep routine. He's a good little sleeper for me -- down at 8pm and up around 7/7:30 am and only the occasional wake-up if he's not feeling well. AND...I've become spoiled and love my full night of sleep! Here's hoping the transition goes better than planned! We're shooting for early July.

The room is not finished yet, but here are a few inspiration pics I've collected on Pinterest that have caught my eye. I'm drawn toward simple patterns, so I love the rugby striped bedding I've been seeing. The color navy is classy and boyish and lime is one of my all-time favorite colors and compliments navy nicely.

I love the trunks at the end of each of these beds and the simplicity of this entire room.

I completely adore this growth chart, and wish I had started measuring and marking Dean's height earlier. I'm definitely going to try to work one of these into his big boy room and get on the measurements ASAP! That'll be a DIY project for the summer...

Here is another one that I just love...

Wall art -- I plan on creating some digital subway art for my boy's room, but I'm also going to try to get crafty over the summer and attempt a canvas with a fabric cutout like the one above. I'm thinking a tractor, train, boat or something else my little boy loves at the current moment.

Without much luck, I have been on the hunt for pillows to compliment the bedding and sheets I already bought for Dean. I think I've visited every TJ Maxx and HomeGoods in South Jersey and am still coming up empty-handed. I don't have anything particular in mind, but rather looking for something to jump out at me. I was hoping for a fun pattern to compliment the simple rugby striped bedding. Hmmm...these alphabet pillows are kinda fun ;-}

My last inspiration pic for now has inspired me to add a little book nook to Dean's new room. I've got much more space in his new room to work with, and I love these little stacked shelves to hold books. My boy LOVES to read and we have such a sweet bedtime routine because of it. It's something I look forward to every night. I'm hoping to continue to foster his love of reading, and I think a little reading corner is just the thing!

**Wish me luck with all of my summer projects! I'm really going to try to work hard to get my To-Do list DONE because I know once September hits and I'm back to work and in my third trimester of pregnancy, time will be limited.
**We've made some recent home improvements that I'll be sharing soon!
**Please forgive my lackluster posting habits over these last few months. Phew, I'll tell you, I'm barely keeping my head above water these days. I NEED summer!
**Wishing ya'll a GREAT Tuesday and rest of the week!