Friday, July 30, 2010

Recap from Beach Week

It's been almost a week since we got back from vacation, but I feel like I'm just now getting caught up! With a wedding in two weeks, I've had my hands full this week with getting ready. But here's a glance into our fun last week.

Hubs and I on the ferry ride to Fort Fisher

These guys get to have all the fun

The lot of us after a full day at the Aquarium (they were only smiling because I bribed them with gummy bears...but hey, it worked!)

Ice Cream in Southport (with banjo music!)

All the cousins having ice cream at the best ice cream place ever!

And yes, we did more than eat ice cream. Not much more. But more.

My favorite part of the week was seeing my little girl finally fall in love with the ocean. She's never enjoyed being in the waves much before (unless she was being held). But this week, she was out in the water, jumping waves, boogie boarding, and loving every minute of it. It was so great to see her take to another one of my loves.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bless You!

Yesterday, I was sitting on a balcony, and from below, I heard someone sneeze. Immediately, the phrase "bless you" came to mind. I did not yell it from way above, down to a perfect stranger, but I did think about what we mean when we say that.

It's as natural as saying hello (especially for those of us who live down South), however, really does not mean that we are blessing another.

When I look back in the Old Testament, I see countless examples of how fathers would bless their children, or friends bless their loved ones. It meant something about their lives then, and for their future.

Lately, I have thought about how little we actually "bless" one another and how hard it is for us to receive a blessing. We feel silly speaking true encouragement, like somehow it might not be an appropriate time to do it. Or we might just shrug off that compliment that someone gives us, because it's too difficult to believe. The other day, one of our pastors gave me a compliment, and immediately, I was so quick to explain it away. He stopped me, and said, "Why do women always have to find a reason to not believe it?" I couldn't even begin to give him an answer, but I knew he was right.

I think this is what it means to "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Col. 3:16)

It's not always easy to bless others, or to even receive a blessing. But when we are letting the word of Christ dwell richly in us, somehow, it's going to bubble up and spill over. I want to be able to speak blessing into others lives, and receive it as well. To be able to say "bless you", and truly mean what I am saying.

Have you been blessed lately? Go see what others have been blessed by today over at Chatting at the Sky.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sipping Summertime: Friday Finds

Sometimes I'll be with my mother-in-law, and she'll say, "That just tastes like summer!" Sipping delicious cold drinks is one of my favorite parts of the summer. However, I DO NOT like always having to pay a lot for them. Lately, I've been enjoying some natural sparkling lemonade (that's my fancy day drink I get cheap at Aldi), but at other times, I love using frozen fruit to blend into a delicious milkshake or smoothie. You're sure to get a lot of "YAY!!!!"s when you say, "You guys want to make a smoothie?" Here are some great places to start...

and try

Ok, so here's a hint. You don't always have to follow the recipe to a tee. Some of you are saying, "WHAT?", and others are saying, "AMEN!" A lot of times, I just throw some frozen strawberries, pour some milk, and plop some vanilla ice cream in the blender, and, VOILA! You have yourself a homemade strawberry milkshake that can give anywhere a run for it's money! Here are some easy as pie (or water) recipes:

Cucumber Mint Water
My personal favorite for the most refreshing water ever...

Easy as it sounds. Slice up some cucumber, and lemons (or limes), and pick some fresh mint. Pour water over and serve. Soooo refreshing! I served this at the grand opening a few weeks ago, and everyone kept asking what was in the water that was so good! No secrets, just natural refreshment.

Fruit Infused Water
(Ok, this one kind of ties for 1st place for favorite water.)
My sweet friend Katie introduced me to this one! In her words:

"It is SUPER DUPER easy and delicious. I take fruit-- whatever I have on hand .... and freeze it. Sliced lemons, limes, oranges, along with whole blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are delicious. Just pick a few of those-- you don't need everything. Then you just put it in a pretty container with ice and water and you're all set.
It doesn't really have to sit too long. The freezing process "opens up" the fruit so that as it thaws it releases all kinds of deliciousness. The water doesn't last long after the event. When your party is over, you may want to take out the citrus fruits, as the longer they're in there, the more like orange rind everything starts to taste. You can also use sparkling water for a special touch-- it makes it bubbly and yummy."

So, go eat, DRINK, and be merry! Speaking of "merry" I'm really not into thinking about Christmas at all yet, but I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't have the Christmas in July fever. Am I alone in my love of the summertime!?!?

Oh, and one more thing. The kids really love it when you make their drink feel like a special little celebration. My kids and I always clink our cups and say, "Cheers!" after we've made ourselves a yummy drink. It's only like the cutest thing ever. So, in honor of them, "CHEERS!"

Monday, July 12, 2010

Seaside Bound

I don't care what time of the year it is, I could always be seaside bound and be happy. We don't get there as much as I'd like to, but we get there a lot more than most people. We're so blessed to have family that welcomes us down to the coast whether they are there or not, whenever we can go. It truly is such a gift.

However, this time, the gift was for the giver. My father in law is one of the kindest and most generous men that I've ever known, and he just turned the big 6-0. Thankfully he doesn't even know what a blog is, or I might get in trouble for telling you that. His favorite place to be is down at their beach house. Not to get out in the water or even to work on his tan. He doesn't really do that. You might be wondering why, especially if you are a sun loving ocean swimming fiend like me. But what's so great about him, is that all he cares about doing is simply being down there.

Walking on the beach with his wife at sunset. Going crabbing to get some yummy appetizers. Taking the grandkids out for seafood and ice cream. Sitting on the balcony with a beer. Just the simple things about seaside life that he loves.

This same man, is not one for presents or parties or anything that would draw attention to himself. He absolutely HATES surprise parties, so we respected that wish. Instead of a big party with lots of friends and family, we had a delicious Seaside Feast with just a few family members.

After dinner, though, is when we really surprised him. He's been crabbing off little piers for years, dreaming about that little Jon boat that he still hasn't gotten around to getting. The kids came in wearing life vests and carrying ors. At first he thought they were just being cute. But as he read the card, with all the names, and began to understand the gift he had been given, he was speechless. Several people had gone in together, and we had more than enough to get a little flat-bottom boat for him. He could not believe it. And he wore his life vest the rest of the night.

Now, can you tell me what's different about this picture than the other one? And if so, which one do you like better?

Go and celebrate the little gifts (or the big ones!) with others over at Chatting at the Sky. It is a sure way to be blessed today.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Finds: Happy 4th!

July 4th has completely taken me by surprise. I can't even believe that we're in July already!! Sad to say, I haven't prepared anything yet for this special holiday. However, I just might be so enticed by these inspirational ideas that I get to work! Or, I might just enjoy lazing by the pool. Either way, these things are just too pretty not to show. Happy Friday, and Happy July 4th Weekend!

Ok, let's just say I'm dreaming. This is what my dream house front porch would look like. (the little girl of course would have to be my own daughter, but you get the point). Check out the tea stained bunting and reproduced quilts! I love the vintage flare going on here.

So, if that was my front porch above, than this would be my back porch. (I know my house is now made of siding and shingles, but we'll deal with that later). But, look how fun this party would be?! Pinwheels, drinks in the pail, as we all know I'm crazy about, and look, there are my hydrangeas! (at least I really do have some of those in my yard).

I'm sure Martha Washington could cook a mean apple pie, but Martha Stewart definitely takes the cake when it comes to beautiful eye popping red, white, and blue desserts!

These fun firecracker decorations are for the more adventurous planner, but they are sooo festive! There is a great step by step tutorial here so get get fired up!

Ok, back to the dream state, I'm totally seeing this as my new lake house. And this is what it would look like when you come over for my make believe July 4th party. I love how understated the decor is for the 4th. Patriotic, but not cheesy and overwhelming.

Onto more food! Are you wondering what the best kind of ribs to make this year? Or how to beat your grill master recipe from last year? Well, check out these Top 10 July 4th recipes from around the country!

Whatever you do this year for the fourth, remember to celebrate all the freedom we truly have been given. Now, go pick which dessert you're going to make!

Images from Martha Stewart, Home and Garden, Country Living,, and