Saturday, July 30, 2011

Supporting local growers

In between huffing and puffing and chatting during our walk, Leslie and I found a roadside flower shop. Little Grace, who had to be around 11ish, was selling fresh picked flowers for $3 a bunch. Not only was that a complete steal, but we were able to support a local grower and help this little entrepreneur on her way to starting her own biz. Love it!

We went back after our walk to make our purchases, since we don't normally stash money in our bras, at least not while exercising, but when we got there, Grace was nowhere to be found! Like any good business owner, she had a cute sign posted, so we waited.

My budget blooms are looking gorgeous on my kitchen table, but Leslie used hers as centerpieces for a dinner party, and gave a bunch away to each of her guests. Talk about a great hostess! I couldn't help but spy some beautiful hydrangeas in the back of Grace's garden and I'm hoping that they make their way to the flower shop!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Slumber party!

This weekend we had a sleepover with our sweet niece, Elizabeth.

First, we hit up the beach at my parent's house.

We dug holes and jumped in them.

We made seaweed hair and mustaches.

We caught some rays and watched the surfers.

And we spent a lot of time jumping over the waves.

Then, we headed back home to play. These two are a riot together.
It's easy to forget who's two!

She is a great helper in the kitchen.

Even if she eats the ingredients right off of the pizza, with no hands.

And she LOVES to be outside.

Poor girl wore herself out! I wasn't far behind!

It is non-stop fun when she comes over and I would have her sleep over every night. Actually, when I asked if she would live with me, she said yeah, sure. Then when I asked her when she wanted to move in, she told me Saturday. Love that girl!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

GF (or not) Strawberry Shortcake

GF date night was a major success. Good thing, too, because I saw Jeff for a total of 4 minutes yesterday, and I'm pretty sure 2 of those, he was already sleeping. Our meal was scrumptious and the strawberry shortcake was a welcome dessert on the 90+ degree evening we decided to eat outside.

On to dessert! I am not sure how I ever lived this long without trying this recipe. I have seen it on the back of the Bisquick box FOREVER and I always just went on my way, enjoying pancakes. Well, when my friend Jodi from Littlest Learners & The Clutter-free Classroom posted her one & only recipe, I was in. Jodi posts about all things teaching related so if she was posting a recipe, it had to be good. And it was. She pointed out that she made a mistake with the amount of sugar that she used and turned out with a delicious shortcake, so I decided to repeat and make the same mistake.
So. stinkin. good.

You can get the recipe on the back of the Bisquick box and depending on which kind you get will give you either the original or gluten-free recipe. I kind of blended the two recipes because that's how I roll in my GF kitchen. I'm also going to post mine with the mixed up amounts of sugar because it was way good. If you're not into that, flip the sugars back or follow what's on the box.

Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake (6 servings)

Adapted from the back of the Gluten-Free Bisquick box


4 cups strawberries (1 qt), sliced
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp. sugar
2 1/3 cups Bisquick Gluten Free mix (whole box - these are small!)
3 tbsp. butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla
whipped cream

1. Mix strawberries and 3 tbsp. sugar, set aside.
Sidenote: I used less strawberries because it was just the two of us, so the 3 tbsp. was perfect and made the strawberries SO juicy and delicious.

2. Heat oven to 425* and grease a cookie sheet.

3. Combine Bisquick mix, 1/2 cup of sugar, melted butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla in a stand mixer or by hand, until dough is sticky but not too firm.

4. Drop by 6 spoonfuls on the cookie sheet.

5. Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes on cooling rack.

6. Split the shortcakes with a knife and fill with whipped cream and strawberries. Top with whipped cream and strawberries for extra deliciousness.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Life of a Baseball Wife & a GF Date Night

In college, we had a little group called the Baseball Wifeys Club. It was made up of all of the girls who dated the baseball players and it was serious. Four years later, there are only three standing members and we pretty much rock.

The biggest perk of being a baseball wifey was that I always had other wifeys to keep me company. Actually, the biggest perk was when Jeff played professionally for the Toronto Blue Jays organization and I was able to fly to Florida to watch him play and dream of our townhouse overlooking Fenway Park.

We never did get the townhouse but it was a wonderful experience.

I still enjoy being a baseball wifey, I mean, have you ever seen a cuter baseball bum?

I didn't think so.

Jeff now coaches the local legion team and he LOVES it. I love that he gets to do what he's passionate about but the time commitment really stinks. The season is pretty short, but I never get to see him! I should probably go to more of the games but it's hard because the players are in high school, so I don't know anyone, and no one lives around here to go to the games with. So instead, I complain about how much time I lose with him. Although, it is MUCH better now that we live together. Still, I can count on one hand the number of times we've had dinner together since baseball started. This week, he is gone every single night except for tonight. Last night, he didn't get home until 11 and I'm thinking the rest of the week will follow the same trend since he has away games all week. Being home alone would probably have its perks if I wasn't alone all day long now that my break has started. I miss my bff.

To celebrate his one night home and because I'm awesome, I have a great dinner planned for him. Considering last night, he had a leftover piece of cold chicken at 11pm, it's the least I can do.

Here's what's on the menu:

Turkey burgers with cheese, peppers, and onions; his will be on a gluten-free bun. Heaven. They taste like sausage and if that isn't heaven, I don't know what is.

Alexia sweet potato fries with brown sugar. Good golly, Miss Molly!

Grilled summer squash and zucchini. Yum!

Mike's Hard Cranberry Lite Lemonade, because I just found out that it's gluten-free! And Jillian Michaels may bust through the TV screen and body slam me if she knew I was having a high-cal bevy during the 30-Day Shred.

For dessert? Gluten-free Strawberry Shortcake with fresh, organic strawberries. Those make it healthy, right? I CANNOT WAIT.

The dessert recipe and an update on it's delicious-ness to follow, with pictures!

Seriously, is there anything better than being a stay-at-home fiance?? I cannot wait until the day I can be a Real Housewife, for real, and whip up these gourmet dinners every night. Hah!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How I spent my first week of summer vacation, from boat to throat.

Grab yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, if it's after noon. This is going to be long.

My summer vacation only started a week ago because I was really stupid smart to volunteer to spend the first week of vacation taking a math class for grad credits. While I am grateful that I can say I officially started my master's, five 8 hour days of math was brutal. Too bad I didn't read this first.

One of my kiddo's got this book from his dad. Hysterical.

The 4th of July was spent soaking up the sun on Lake Winnisquam with family. Lots of fun was had on the boat, at the sandbar, playing on the jetski, and sitting fireside. I have no pictures to show from this lovely trip until Jeff's mom comes home from vacation and can email a few. My camera is also sucking big time and I no longer carry it everywhere with me. Sadness.

I love, love the extra time I was able to spend with my adorable niece and my sweet cat. Both girls live with my parents and the first thing I do when I get there is round them up for hugs and kisses. I have the most adorable picture of Elizabeth sitting in the window sill next to Princess, but of course, it's on my sister's camera.

I had lots of fun roadtripping to UMass Amherst to pick my brother up from his freshman orientation, even though we didn't stop at Antonio's for pizza. I am envious of his upcoming college days after hearing all of the fun things happening on the campus. I just love spending time with my baby brother! On another note, the western part of the state is beautiful but a bit strange in parts. I tried to take a picture (but I was driving and it wasn't happening) of a truck that I saw that I can only assume caught fish and delivered it. The slogan on the back said, "from boat to throat". Um, gross. Even more gross, there were boxes full of produce, and I assume seafood, in the bed of the open pickup truck. I don't know about anyone else, but somewhere in between boat and throat, I usually refridgerate my seafood.

I started walking the lake, Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield, three times a week with my lovely friend, Leslie Ann. We were pretty hard-core on our first walk in the rain! I'm very much looking forward to catching up with LA, seeing her cutie-pie baby boy on the reg, and burning a few cals.

I also started Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred because I'm a big fan of a workout that only lasts 20 minutes. The verdict: 20 minutes is a long, LONG, time and Jillian Michaels is the devil. I'm pretty sure that she is trying to kill me. After 5 minutes, I am sweating like a hog, after 10 minutes, praising God that I am halfway through, and after 15 minutes, begging the clock to move faster. It isn't even a super hard workout but it is NON-STOP. Today is Day 5 of the workout and once I can motivate myself to hit play, I will be halfway through Level 1. 25 days to go. Pray for me.

My sweet friend, Hayley, just welcomed her new baby boy into the world! Asher Daniel was born on July 6, and I cannot wait to take a trip to Maine to meet him!

My cousin, Jillian, and I went to Hampton Beach yesterday (more on the trip later) and we spotted the most adorable leopard print beach cooler. The girl it belonged to said she got it at Marshall's for $20 and so when we left the beach, we stopped there to pick it up but didn't find any with that pattern. We were a bit sad but the trip wasn't a total failure because I found cushions for my patio set, 50% cheaper and 100% cuter than what I've been finding in other stores. Jillian stopped at three more stores on her way home and couldn't find it. Then, today I stopped at Homegoods, TJ's, and Marshall's and had no luck, either. When I tried to google it to see where it could be located, this picture came up..

I assure you this was not the cooler we were looking for.

I started reading The Hunger Games Trilogy and I'm kind of addicted. This series was pretty popular with my advanced readers so I used my Scholastic points to order it. The Hunger Games is about a game in which 24 tributes, teens between 12 and 17, are put in an arena to fight to the death; the last one alive, wins. I wasn't really expecting so much blood and violence, but I'm into it. I'm not sure how I feel about my students reading it, though. This may be another permission slip book, along with The Twilight series.

I've been pen-pal'ing late night with this girl and cracking up. It reminds me of the time I signed up for a pen pal in Tiger Beat magazine. I was "matched" with a girl named Kendra, who I think was from New Jersey. I don't think I was any older than sixth grade, at least I hope I wasn't, because our letters were signed with things like W.B.S., B.F.F., and I {heart} J.T.T. I also sent a letter to J.T.T. and he wrote back on a post card. True story.

I should be embarassed by this, but I'm not... My first whole day off with nothing planned, I watched a 12 hour marathon of Teen Mom. This is not a joke, but it should be. I even caught Jeff poking his head through the window between the living room and kitchen to catch a glimpse of Amber beating up Gary. Too bad someone didn't beat up Amber. LOVE that it's almost Tuesday again!

I'm also kind of addicted to browsing the web for wedding ideas, reading blogs, my Nook (Barnes & Noble e-reader), the sun, and diet coke. Maybe it's the free time, maybe it's the technology addiction that Jeff says I have. I don't know.

Speaking of technology, I have become obsessed with the MacBook and iPhone. I know I am late to the party, but I want one of each, pronto.

My thighs are burning from this damn computer, so I'm off to let the devil-lady shred me. Then I'll really be complaining about burning thighs. Wah!