Hello Monday

Monday, August 10, 2020

As you are reading this I am getting ready to “go back to work”! I have a bit of a nervous stomach because I have really enjoyed no work/school responsibilities for the last two months. Last year was stressful when you combine my boys being seniors and my school year and then of course what happened in March… My nerves also have to do with this being the last week of my boys at home. Move in day is Friday. I would appreciate your good vibes that I can keep it together and help them to not feel anxious. Thank you in advance – you all are the best!

I am linking up today with Heather, Tanya (Good luck to you, Tanya! I feel a kinship because she is also sending her girl to college!), and many more.

The wonderful weather continued into the weekend and Friday morning Ernie and I had a nice walk and I just spent my “last week day” (I am really milking this, aren’t I?) at home all day long.

I sadly finished this book. I didn’t like the sequel as much but I did like it. The relationship between Jonah and Calla started bugging me in the sequel. Anyone else? I won’t get into details but there were some thing that started making me mad!

I did a new nail color. I have a post coming this week on how to do a good at home manicure. I’m not an expert, but I’ve learned some tricks.

Tom came home from work a bit early and the boys wanted to stay home and eat Cane’s for dinner. We got on the boat around 5:30 to head to Captain’s Quarters because we knew it would get busy. They were bringing back live music outside and we like the group. They tried live music in June but someone messed it up for all by not following the rules! We always say that we don’t go out at night nearly enough.

We got a prime parking spot and ordered some spinach queso. This is one of my favorite things on their menu.

And, then our friends met us there. We stayed about 6 feet apart – don’t worry!

And, this gives you an idea of how many boats started arriving!

They are allowed 100% capacity outside but only 25% inside. By staying on the boat we get faster service and have our own table and are able to socially distance better.

We took our friends on a cruise after eating dinner – forgot to take photos of the other food.

And, we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset.

I am kind of mad at myself for not going to the farmer’s market more this summer. They have moved it back to their normal space but masks are still required. Some places won’t take cash for safety reasons. They are also counting the number of people that come in and out so that it doesn’t get too crowded. I avoided any tents that had long lines or too many people around. Some people were not giving me my space so I walked away!

I ended up with jam, a candle, bread, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, an onion, a green pepper, and fresh mozzarella.

I worked a bit on our college piles. We had more Amazon supplies come in.

Then, Tom, Ernie and I went swimming for a bit.

We passed the riverboat The Belle of Louisville. I think they have resumed some of their lunch and sightseeing cruises. It is a tradition for seniors at our high school to get to take a senior cruise one evening in May and that got cancelled. We have been on the boat a few times for various things, though.

I picked up Jimmy John’s for our lunch.

We left around 3 and it was getting so crowded in the cove area!

We got Mexican with our boys for dinner but I forgot photos. And, we watched two episodes of Scrubs together.

I had taped this show from Friday night. Anyone watch it? Martha Stewart shares her farm and teaches us about tree care, pet care, etc. It looked interesting. She is really knowledgeable but her tone comes off as very condescending.

Then, finally, Mason and I watched the first episode of Big Brother which I had taped from Wednesday! We started this tradition a few years ago. I am not sure how we will watch it after this week, but I will probably save it to watch with him sometime.

I started this. It seems very much like Eleanor Oliphant so far.

And, Sunday afternoon we took the boat out again. I don’t know if we’ve ever done three days in a row before. The weather was just too good and I think we know these days are fleeting!

I wanted to show you our river gas station. Boats can pull up on either side. The attendant throws you a rope and helps tie you up.

They will pump for you usually but it was busy.

They also sell ice, drinks, and snacks.

Ernie was happy to be with us.

And, we were happy to have our friends tie up with us. We chatted for a few hours and it was so nice!

So, we had a very full weekend and I’m grateful for some fun!

How was your weekend?

Thanks for reading,

Amy

Friday Favorites

Friday, August 7, 2020

Well, this is a Friday I’m not quite ready for…I start back to work on Monday! I guess it’s time, though. The problem is – I don’t really know what work will look like and what my responsibilities will be and that’s hard. I do know that I have two weeks of training and we welcome the students back virtually on Tuesday, August 26. Then, we will continue to be virtual until October 3. Who knows what things will look like by then? Can you tell I don’t do especially well without structure?

Also, a week from today our boys move to college. So. many. feelings. It’s time, I know.

I am linking up today with Andrea, etc. so go right here to see some other Friday Favorites.

Despite my introduction to today’s post, I had a really good week. We had amazing weather! I think my moods are very dependent upon the weather. I just hate the sticky hot humidity and that negatively affects me. This week was unseasonably cool for August! I’m talking sweatshirt in the mornings cool!

Another thing that made the week really good was checking things off of my list like the boys’ doctor appointments and immunization records for college, a couple of social things, getting my professional development hours done…stuff like that.

Let’s start with a favorite on Monday. This sweet student who graduated with Jack and Mason got placed in a really high college Spanish course and said she was nervous so I offered to go over verb tenses on my patio. We have known her since kindergarten and I made sure her mom was o.k. with it and that we were 6 feet apart. I made her my iced coffee because she is a big coffee lover. It was nice to see her and get back into my craft!

I took my laptop outside the next day for a meeting and part of my professional development. It’s important to change work scenery when working from home maybe? I had my breakfast outside, too.

Then, a friend brought lunch over from a restaurant and we sipped rose on the patio while enjoying it. I forgot to take a food photo but this is how I set us up at opposite ends of the table. It was such a treat.

I went to Trader Joe’s which is always fun and there was no line at 12:30. I keep getting lucky with the random times I pick to go! Now watch me have a long line next time! I have a post coming next week about some new products I found.

I did a recent purchases post on Wednesday and showed you this necklace from Noonday Collection. The big earrings are my only other piece from them. I have been wearing them a bunch and the little silver and gold studs when I have to wear a mask because big earrings and masks don’t really work. I like the gold and silver theme I have going.

I loved having to put on leggings and a sweatshirt for my morning coffee this week. These are my 4th of July popsicle leggings. I am totally mismatched!

I put my Hobby Lobby clearance items out this week, too. I am itching to make my patio into a fall wonderland, but I know it’s too early!

Even though it’s been cooler, the mosquitoes are really getting bad. I find that this fan helps keep them away.

I continued my weekly library curbside pickup.

I saw these recommended on someone’s blog I am sure.

A big Target order of college stuff came in – clip on bed lamps, lotion, vitamins, more masks, medicines, etc. – they put this in with my order for free, I guess. These smell amazing! Maybe they knew college boys could create major smelly funk in their dorm rooms.

It was a treat to sit on a patio for brunch/lunch with Tom one day this week during his work day. We went to Wild Eggs which has breakfast and lunch food.

I got Mr. Potato Head casserole with tons of veggies.

Tom got an omelette. He doesn’t understand blog photos of food.

I want to leave you with some funny memes I “collected” this week.

Isn’t this true?

Why don’t they understand this? Ha!

Oh yes! I used my fair share of Aquanet!

Yes, my thoughts exactly!

What were your faves this week? Leave me one in the comments!

What are your weekend plans?

We have a chance to hear some live music! Two of our favorite local groups will be outside at a restaurant and if we feel like it’s a safe situation we may get to listen to one or both. I hope to boat one day. The boys and I are going to start on the packing of their clothes. I don’t want to leave that until the last minute. I am assuming I will be working all next week from 7:30-3:30 ish and I know I will be tired at the end of the day of staring at a screen, you know? I do have Friday off and that is the boys’ move in day.

Anyway, thanks for reading! Go back to yesterday’s post for back to school tips here if you are interested. It seems like many bloggers don’t blog on Thursdays and many blog readers don’t read on Thursdays, either, so I wanted to make sure you knew about it!

Have a lovely weekend,

Amy

Back to School Tips

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Today I wanted to share some back to school tips for this weird, weird year. Please leave any additional tips in the comments and readers – make sure to check those because you all always give me so many good suggestions. Most of my tips are directed at the “at home” learners but some will also apply to “in person” learners, too.

First, let me start by saying that I have taught high school for 26 years – you may not be there yet with your kids but many of these things will still apply to the younger grades.

My kids are no longer in k-12 and my heart goes out to all of you with kids still in the school system.

So, my advice comes from experience on both ends of the school spectrum – as a teacher and as a parent.

Here we go…

  1. Still go back to school shopping no matter what your year is starting with. Many families have a tradition or ritual and this is important to kids. It won’t look the same, but it signals that it is a new year. Maybe get that new pair of tennis shoes, too. We used the beginning of the school year as a time to check sizes and update a few necessities. Take photos of your kids shopping in their masks.
  2. Your attitude as the parent is so important. Find things to laugh about. Look at the bright side. Some days this will be easier than others. Try not to complain in front of the kids. It’s so hard but it’s so important!
  3. Remember that this is temporary. Try not to look too far into the future; take it one week at at time.
  4. Celebrate your child’s new grade. Have a back to school dinner the night before it “starts”. If they are going into 5th grade you could serve things in groups of 5 or look for things with “5” on it in the stores. Be silly. You will have fun and so will they. This is what they will remember – not the bad parts. Take photos!
  5. Come up with a structure and a schedule. Kids really need this – even high schoolers need this. When my kids were in elementary, they weren’t allowed to come out of their room until their uniform was on (I had a hard time getting them to do this if it wasn’t the first thing they did). I know that sounds mean, but it made our mornings better. They showered at night and that made the morning better. You still need smooth mornings even at home because it affects the whole day. I seem to recall one of mine sleeping in their uniform for awhile to “save time”. Type up this schedule. Type up these “rules”. Maybe put that on your children. They might think coming up with the schedule and rules is a lot of fun. Most of us crave a schedule by the end of summer.
  6. Consider an at home school uniform. Kids aren’t that different from adults. If you wear pjs all day, you will act lazy all day. There is nothing wrong with buying 5 different colored polos and designating a color for each day. Younger kids would love this, I bet. Or, continue to use your days of the week closet organizer. Maybe even do some silly spirit days from home – mismatch day, school colors day, favorite college team day, why not? Maybe the parents can join in the fun.
  7. This is super important: Communicate early and often with teachers and principals. This is new to all of us. I just read a blogger that said her 1st grader is expected to be online from 8:30-3:30 with only an hour break for lunch. Seriously? That is just wrong in my opinion. I am looking for ways for my high schoolers to do work not on a screen! I am planning on having them write in a spiral notebook and use an actual textbook for some of their work. Why on Earth should a child that young be working like a 9-5 employee? Nope! This could affect the rest of their years of learning.
  8. If you can, hire a trusted teen or tween (I actually think younger might be great) to help with some of the work. This works well if you and spouse or one of you works from home. The helper is the one helping, but you are still there just in case.
  9. I think it’s o.k. to form a small group or “pod” as they are calling them to learn together. You would have to establish norms for safety purposes but a group of a few families working together might be something positive. If you and your family have all been tested and you have an older person in your life who is willing (grandparent, aunt, etc.) I even think that would be o.k. You WILL need a support system.
  10. Some of my suggestions really won’t work for people struggling financially. It breaks my heart for parents that were barely hanging on before. Look into community YMCA or other programs that might be available for some help. Also, I know that there are lots of schools in my area that require service hours. Maybe you can find a trusted teen to use this as “service hours”.
  11. We most likely will be wearing masks for awhile. Make it as fun as possible by letting your child pick a favorite character or picking out their masks. Order the plain white and then let them decorate with fabric markers.
  12. There is so much for kids to learn that isn’t technically “school subject material”. Reading is so important. Have a designated reading time each afternoon. When my boys gave up their naps they still had to have quiet reading time in bed. We also used the guest bed as a place to read. It’s time to teach life skills – cooking, doing laundry, cleaning – you can incorporate math skills in many of these things. Kids are great and usually so eager to learn new things.
  13. Try to limit kids’ exposure to the news. They need to be protected from this as much as possible in my opinion. Kids today are dealing with anxiety like never before. This even applies to teens. Limit their exposure to the doom and gloom news stories.
  14. Keep social connections in any way that you can. Still celebrate any and all holidays or silly calendar days that come up. Maybe it would be fun to research some holidays from other countries right now and celebrate those, too.
  15. Talk to your boss. I have learned through the years to not have verbal diarrhea. I used to go on and on and it detracted from my message. Maybe something like this, “As, you know, our kids will be learning from home for the time being. What are your thoughts on flexibility with me completing my work tasks? ” Maybe already have a couple of proposals in mind – you splitting some time between home and office or how you would effectively work from home for the time being? Hopefully employers have already started this conversation with employees.
  16. It is time to have a true partnership with your spouse. Sit down when both parties are relaxed and come up with a plan to divide and conquer. A blogger I read split the school day with her husband. He took morning shift while she did work tasks and then she took over at lunch so that he could work.

Please leave other thoughts, tips, recommendations in the comments!

I am praying for all of you and whatever you are dealing with in this crazy season of life.

Amy

Recent Purchases and some talk about the Nordstrom Sale!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Many bloggers have started talking about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I am not a card holder so by the time I can shop it may be too late. I used to have one, but we streamlined our finances several years ago and I only have one credit and one debit card now.

I tend to get excited when bloggers talk about products even if it isn’t something I need! If everyone else is shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale then to be in I want to, too! In case you aren’t familiar, this is a unique sale in that it is not end of season stuff. It is fall and winter stuff! But, you really need to be careful in my opinion and not just jump on the bandwagon (like I have done in the past). I would inventory your stuff from last fall and winter first and really think about your lifestyle and your needs. Things go quickly so you can always order and send back because they do have awesome customer service and an awesome return policy. This also may be a way to get something you wanted that is out of stock. If someone returns it, you may get lucky.

It might be worthwhile to buy some bigger ticket items that don’t go out of style or that you wanted last season and never pulled the trigger on. I think it’s also a great time to get some jewelry or makeup.

Here are some things I’m thinking about:

A second Barefoot Dreams cardigan. I have the first one they ever made and I wear it almost every day in the winter. I would maybe like the baby or the circle.

Something Patagonia – a vest or a jacket. High quality outdoor brands like Patagonia and North Face last forever. I have a North Face jacket that I bought years ago and it looks like new. Our diaper bag for our twins was a North Face backpack. It still looks new 18 years later and one of the boys used it for his school backpack for awhile. It made me so nostalgic and happy.

Mac lip glass lip gloss – I wrote down all of Sheaffer’s lip colors and this would be a great time to get some.

Do you shop the sale? What are you looking at this year?

So, let’s talk about a recent hodge podge of things I have purchased – in addition to all the college prep stuff for the boys!

First of all, I read Mix and Match Mama’s run down of scents. I have been looking for a summer perfume all summer long. I finally gave up and decided I would use the bum bum cream as my smell. I have a fall/winter scent that I love, but my summer scent was tricky. Why do I need one when there is no one within 6 feet to smell me? Yeah, I’m not sure!

I decided to try two discovery sets from Sephora and it came to around $60 for both so it was a bit of a splurge. They are very small – sample size – except for the top one below.

You guys, this brand – I had never heard of it before. They all smell amazing! I love them all.

I should also tell you a bit about myself – I am very sensitive to smell. I hate anything artificial, too sweet, or too floral.

This set below is just kind of meh for me. The scents I have tried did not seem to last as long. They do have cute names like “Lazy Sunday Morning”. You don’t really want to know what I think I smell like on a lazy Sunday morning, by the way – coffee breath mixed with teeth that haven’t been brushed?

Anyway, I am happy to play around with these summer scents. Actually, many of them work into fall and winter.

I had to buy this book from Amazon because my library didn’t have it in their catalog. I liked the first one The Simple Wild enough that I wanted to read this right away.

I think I read about this in Lisa’s Two Cents blog. You put this on salmon and grill or bake and it is amazing! I found it at Kroger. I got rave review from my hub and my one salmon loving son.

I was craving a hot dog recently so we had them for dinner one night. We only eat them maybe 3-4 times a year. I had hear about these Hawaiian hot dog buns and it made them so good!

You may remember me talking about Noonday Collection and the earrings I bought at the beginning of the summer. They have jewelry made from artisans all over the world. I bought this necklace – it’s gold and silver and you can loop as many times as you would like.

They come packaged so cute in these little pouches.

Just like most years, I am sick of my summer clothes! That is kind of surprising since I haven’t worn many of them this year. I am starting to think of fall clothing and shoes. I have been curious about these Danskos for a few years and an art teacher at my school has them and I always covet them. What do you think? Danskos are kind of so ugly they are cool? Kind of like Birkenstocks?

What have you purchased recently?

Amy

Easy Summer Dessert – Heath Ice Cream Cake

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

For me, August is the last month of “summer foods”. I like to change everything up seasonally – my foods, my clothing, my scents, my decor – everything! I know it’s little, but doing this keeps every month fresh for me. Several years ago I started dedicating September to all things apple, October to all things pumpkin, and December to all things peppermint with some lingering pumpkin.

Do you love Heath as much as I do? Did you know you can buy Heath pieces next to the chocolate chips? Now you do!

You need:

ice cream sandwiches – I did the mini this time but I really think the big work better. You need a very soft crust on the sandwiches so that this dessert all melds together.

Cool Whip

Heath pieces

Using an 8×8 (I highly recommend using the aluminum disposable if you are going to take this somewhere – and this would be a great dessert to take to a bbq – with a very small number of people, of course), spread a bit of Cool Whip on the bottom of the pan.

Now do one layer of your ice cream sandwiches.

Now do another thicker layer of Cool Whip and half of the Heath bag.

Repeat and this is what it will look like.

Put in freezer for several hours so that it will re-freeze together well. Cut in slices and serve.

Disclaimer: One son was mad that I “ruined” the ice cream sandwiches and said “So you mean you took something great on its own and did this to it?” Husband does not like Cool Whip so I said I would do vanilla ice cream instead of Cool Whip next time.

You can’t please everyone, right?

Let me know if you make it!

Amy

Hello Monday!

Monday, August 3, 2020

Hello all! I am linking up today with Heather, Tanya, etc. right here!

How was your weekend? Mine was good! I made some effort to plan a couple of things and it made it a fun and full weekend for me.

Since the pandemic started, I have been treating myself to some magazines. They make me happy. I think my theme was outside and decor for this set of magazines!

I also had a library pick up on Friday and got these two books!

But, before I could start those two… I have been on quite a good reading streak. I finished this over the weekend and the sequel Wild at Heart is not available at my library so I ordered it from Amazon in paperback. That’s how much I wanted to read it! Loved this book!

And, I finished this book, too, in just a matter of two days. I liked it but it did annoy me. Anyone else?

It seriously rained from Wednesday-Saturday much of every day. I think that is what caused me to read so much. I was either on my family room couch by the window or right here if it was lightly raining.

I did a manicure using Essie Bikini So Teeny.

Friday morning I got a Starbuck’s skinny vanilla latte. I seriously think this was my first Starbuck’s since March!

Friday night we asked our friends to go to a Beer Garden (Biergarten) that also has food. It was raining so we didn’t get to sit in my preferred space with pretty vines overhead.

It is dog friendly! But, we didn’t know and didn’t bring our dogs. I forgot to take photos of the food but we got brussels sprouts, pulled pork, and fish sandwiches.

Saturday morning I did some morning patio reading – my book and some blogs that I didn’t get to on Friday.

Then, I did decide to take both tops back to Target. The black one is too short. It looks longer online. The red didn’t fit right. Oh well. Again, not keeping anything that isn’t perfect. The fabrics are great and quality seemed great, so they might work for you.

I checked to see if this was in and it was! I bought two bottles to save for fall. I bought the cleaning spray last week.

I was super excited about the arrival of these personalized notepads from The Stationery Studio. I have been wanting some for a long time and finally ordered them. This was a set of 4 different sizes for around $24 I think. This would make a great gift! At least, I love getting stuff like this!

I love, love, love veggie sandwiches and look for them on many menus. I re-created the veggie I used to get at our beloved bagel shop that went out of business. This is simply a Trader Joe’s everything bagel, toasted, with garden vegetable cream cheese, sliced tomatoes, and sliced cucumbers. You could add more vegetables if you wanted to.

More rain Saturday afternoon from my view on the patio – I fell asleep to it.

It cleared up for a bit and I made a spiked lemonade – Tito’s, Crystal light lemonade, diet Sierra Mist/Sprite.

Saturday night I made homemade pizza for dinner – yes, the Skinny Biz pizza dough recipe. Google it! We watched a couple of episodes of Scrubs together as a family and then Jack and I went to get Blizzards at DQ. Mason went to the drive in with friends.

I watched this by myself. It was cute. Then, Jack and I watched New Girl and waited up for Mason to get home.

Sunday morning I had my coffee on the patio. Gosh, I will miss this when it gets cold! Sunday was unseasonably cool! Normally in August it is not fun to be outside. It was 60 degrees and never got above 80. It was the perfect day!

We had plans to take our friends on the boat and do lunch. This was the first time taking someone out this season. I have never shown you the drive from my house to the river. It is a straight shot from the street where you turn to go into our neighborhood to the river and takes about 8 minutes.

You go down this winding wooded road and then…

You are driving parallel to the Ohio River the rest of the way to the ramp where we launch the boat.

We met our friends (they dropped their son off to hang at our house with J and M) and cruised a bit and then stopped at Captain’s Quarters.

Tom got pulled pork nachos on homemade potato chips.

I got a cheeseburger.

Then, we headed to the cove for a bit.

and found some people we knew and tied up to them. One of the people was Tom’s sister and it was her birthday so that was nice.

How was your weekend?

I hope it was full of good stuff!

Amy

Friday Faves

Friday, July 31, 2020

I sound like a broken record – broken iphone? broken memory stick? – what on Earth are we supposed to say now? Records are back in vogue so maybe we can still say that? – but I really can’t believe it’s the very last day of July. Tomorrow is August which to me means back to school! I have spent my entire life – except for the first 5 years of it – on a school schedule. This August will no doubt feel so weird. I am pretty sure it will manage to be busy, though, and full of all of the emotions. I am linking up today with Andrea,etc., right here.

My first favorite:

I have been busy doing college prep stuff as you know. One of those things was making sure final high school transcripts got to the college. The boys were in charge of ordering, but as the mom, you have to check up on stuff, you know?

Both of my boys took challenging high school course loads. Mason took 11 AP classes during his four years and we just found out he is receiving 28 college credit hours which technically makes him already a college sophomore! Jack took 9 AP classes and is receiving 15 college credit hours which makes him a second semester freshman! Each AP exam costs $90 ish at our school. I feel that this money was well spent because the AP courses on their transcripts enabled them to get scholarships and now has given them this credit which costs much more than $90 when you are actually in college -if that makes sense. I am so proud of them! Just in case you are wondering about the world of AP classes, I wanted to share that. I am also an AP teacher so I have that added perspective.

My next favorite is this polish color that will work into fall (I always have a pedicure!):

It is Essie’s Exposed. It is like a grey/olive green. I ordered it off of Amazon after not being able to find it at Ulta a few weeks ago. My friend B had this color and it looked great on her! The Essie brush is so tiny! It’s great for fingernails but I would like it be a bit bigger for the toes, I think!

My next favorite is a bit of a splurge. I have done really well with not shopping much this summer. I felt weird about shopping much. I have so many clothes that I haven’t been able to wear or haven’t chosen to wear. But, I am a sucker for a cute top and can wear these from spring to winter, really.

Target’s Knox Rose and Universal Thread are frequent perusals for me on Target.com.

These are not here yet, but I will let you know if I keep them. They need to be perfect for me to add them to my closet.

Pretty, right? And, here’s a little secret. I am trying to add some more red to my closet because of my two pairs of red sandals! Ha! Do you do that, too? Try to match clothing to your shoes instead of the other way around?

My next favorite was my college shopping trip with Mason on Monday. He was more into it than Jack! He even picked his bath towels in his college color of burgundy. I thought that was funny – and I’m hoping for no laundry accidents with such a dark color! But, I have taught them to only use cold. Also, we only bought one sheet set and two bath towels. Let’s get real – they will hopefully wash their sheets and put them right back on the bed and they will hopefully wash one towel and have the spare ready to go. They have been in charge of their own sheets for several years at home.

We bought toiletries, too, and Jack still needed his. Target was having a deal that I think is still going on. If you buy 4 deoderants, body washes, shampoos or conditioners you get a $5 gift card. Score! I got $15 in gift cards for the purchases below and instead of giving me the cards, they just took it off of this purchase! Score!

My kids really don’t care about brands so they have been using Suave shampoo and body wash for several years and the same deoderant as Tom uses. Tom also uses Suave body wash because they stopped making Lever. Tom is very brand loyal and it seems like his brand always stops being produced. This has happened with his old shampoo and conditioner, his body wash, and a few other things. I kind of giggle about it because it makes him so upset! He, he!

This is not really a favorite but it might make you laugh/feel better about yourself… My SIL got a laugh out of it!

Apparently I went to Target like this. I had on olive shorts and a cute black top and wanted to wear neutral flip flops.

I didn’t realize that I had on two different flip flops, including with different heel heights until after we were home and I had changed into my lounge outfit. I remember thinking my left leg felt a bit weird in the store. Mason didn’t notice it either! Mortified! This isn’t the first time this has happened. During my first year of teaching I had identical navy and black pumps. Yes, I said pumps. I wore one of each color to a parent night! Oh well!

My next favorite is due to me getting a bit too much sun last weekend. I am super careful about sunscreen but darn it if I didn’t get my hair part burnt and the top of my chest. I did not put this on my part but I did use it on my chest and it helps so much. This Kroger brand is my favorite I have ever purchased and I have had it for a long time. I need to go look for more. At the beginning of the pandemic this was impossible to find because people were using aloe for homemade hand sanitizer.

This favorite was me getting a bit eager. This was the only one on the shelf at Target and the rest of the shelf was totally empty of all types of cleaners so I guess it was fate. This smells amazing! I also plan to buy several of the hand soaps. I like this brand for being more environmentally friendly and this just smells like fall in a bottle. I discovered it last year and I prefer this acorn spice to the apple cider. I’m hoping to get the candle, too.

Hub came home a bit early one day. He normally gets home at 5:30 and this day he got home around 4:45. I had dinner ready but it was too early, so I suggested us sitting on the patio to talk about our days. I made a tinto de verano – half red wine and half Fresca – and it was nice. I need to remember to do this more.

So, those are some of MY favorites from the week. What was one of yours?

Any fun plans this weekend? I talked about this on my What’s Up Wednesday post but I am hoping for conducive weather to sit outside with a couple of friends and a boat ride on Sunday. It looks like we will have lots of rain today and tomorrow. I like rain, too, but on my schedule!

Thanks for reading, friends!

Amy

The Big Screen

Thursday, July 30, 2020

If you are a long time reader, you may remember some of this that I am going to talk about today. A couple of years ago, I heard about Stargazer Films that works out of my city, Louisville. My son Jack started getting interested in acting around age 15 and I signed him up on their website to get information about being an extra in any films that would be shot locally. The film company makes movies to be on Hallmark and Lifetime mainly. When they are making a movie, they don’t know who will end up buying it apparently.

Well, an opportunity came up in winter of 2019 and Jack wasn’t interested, but guess who was? Me!

I went downtown after school and this was set up to be the “bakery”. It is normally just a commercial bakery and not meant for individuals to come in and shop and sit. I guess they had to bring in some tables and chairs, counter, etc. I think this was a former firehouse, by the way!

They had all of the extras in a hotel lobby across the street and they had to check out our clothing. They told us colors to wear or not wear. I would say there were about 25 extras of all ages.

I got to be in the first group to film! I had to sit at a table for two with another lady inside the bakery and pretend to talk to her.

I wasn’t supposed to take photos. This was one of the bakery clerks. Remember him because he will come up later. Doesn’t he have that typical “Hallmark movie actor” look?

I had to nibble this sprinkle cookie for multiple takes. I also had to pretend to drink coffee from an empty cup – harder than it sounds! We were pretending to be in Seattle. The cup says “Seattle’s Favorite”. I mean, could they have at least put water in my cup to make it about the same weight as a real coffee? Ha! My table partner got a little too excited about her cookie. I think she should have paced herself.

I only stayed there for that one scene and I guess I was there for two hours. It was fun and exciting! The main actress came in to the bakery and talked to her bestie about how stressed she was at work and how she never takes vacations. Then, she shouted to the employee, “Cookies! I need cookies!” If you want to watch the two minute trailer, it is right here. It is called “Starting Up Love”. To my knowledge it hasn’t been shown on t.v. yet. And, in the trailer, the bakery scene has totally different people so I’m pretty sure my group of extras got scrapped!

Last summer, we got an email saying extras were needed for “unnamed college thriller”. They needed kids to bring stuff like they were moving into a dorm and parents to look like they were moving their kids into the dorm. Um, okay! Dress rehearsal! This time, Jack did decided it would be something fun to put on his resume.

Jack is waiting for his scene below. I was a bit salty because I didn’t get to be his mom. I was put elsewhere and this time it was super boring. We had to repeatedly walk through the halls and into rooms. There are more production people than extras and actors, too.

So, from time to time I check the Stargazer Films website and I check Hallmark and Lifetime to see if I recognize “my” movies! Also, I know that they make lots of movies in Louisville and Kentucky because I heard we have good tax incentives for filmmakers?

Last week I found a gem on Lifetime! “Engaged to a Psycho” is the title and it was filmed almost totally here in my city!

You probably recognize this bridge from my boating on the river photos! This was the intro to the movie.

They used a prominent Louisville interior designer’s home for much of the shooting. My husband’s company built a house nearby and my bestie confirmed it was his house. She knows a lot about local real estate.

There is another scene at this house in a neighborhood near mine.

Tom thinks that this patio scene is at our friends’ old house in the same neighborhood as the above house. We had a couple’s wedding shower here on this patio if it is the same one!

There was a boat scene where we often go. It is called Captain’s Quarters and you can park your boat and they come to take your order. The bakery guy was also the captain on the boat in the blue button down.

The actors on top of the boat taking a cruise.

Bridge in background again.

I made my husband skim through it with me as well as my two besties when they were here last Friday for a happy hour. Isn’t that fun?

Have you ever been an extra? Would you do it? It’s not as glamorous as one would think I found out. There is a lot of waiting around!

Amy

What’s Up Wednesday

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

This is a fun link up with Shay, etc. right here that happens the last Wednesday of every month! I sure was glad this came up because I’m struggling with what to blog about lately! Put any suggestions you have for me in the comments, please, or this space may be blank soon! Ha!

What we’re eating:

I have been doing pretty well with sharing at least once a week what we’ve been eating. We have been eating a nice watermelon lately! I am also trying to focus on really enjoying what I consider “summer foods”! We have had tomatoes and peaches and lots of cucumbers.

Here is this week’s menu:

Monday – Cacio e Pepe with chicken and broccoli (from my post yesterday!)

Tuesday – tacos and Spanish rice

Wednesday – spaghetti, Texas toast, salad

Thursday – BLTs, tator tots, fruit

Friday – hopefully something I don’t cook

What I’m reminiscing about:

Basically everything from age 0-now with my boys. Facebook has been showing me all of the summer pictures I posted. I am getting really sad and nostalgic. Tom and I both agreed that it just went by so fast. I am super excited for my boys to start college, but this is another one of those “twin mom” things that I am about to experience. My nest will go from two-zero in one fell swoop. Tom is really sad. He is very sensitive even though he doesn’t show that side often.

What I’m loving:

I am still loving my new bedroom with my new fan (it’s the little things!) and my new mudroom. Doing laundry upstairs is such a luxury. I will say it’s pretty loud so we try to do it before we are hanging out in the living room.

What I’m up to:

I am knee deep in buying college supplies for two. It’s kind of nice to have an empty room right now to organize the college stuff (our old bedroom that is going to be our master bath) I am lucky that I have two minimalist boys! Bed, Bath, and Beyond was disappointing for us but of course Target came through. What we couldn’t find in person or didn’t like in person I am ordering from Amazon. We are trying not to go too crazy because the more you move in, the more you have to move out, and the boys and I agree that they will add knick knacks from the college book store and they will fill it with stuff as time goes on. I love my boys so much. They are so practical.

What I’m dreading:

I am dreading move out day/move in to college day for Tom and I, but I am also so stinking excited for them! I pray that they just love their classes and make lots of new friends. I loved, loved, loved college so much.

I am dreading trying to teach online for at least the first 6 weeks of school. That would mean that we go back to in person instruction October 3 if things are safe by then. I am worried that I won’t remember all the technology I learned back in the spring, I’m worried that I won’t build the same connections and classroom culture. I’m dreading trying to do a job from home that wasn’t meant to be done from home, basically.

What I’m excited about:

I am excited about college for my boys! I am excited for the weather to turn cooler. To be honest, I have always been so busy in the month of September that I am actually excited to be at home more to enjoy the patio weather. September is some of our best weather in Kentucky, in my opinion. We usually keep our boat out before winterizing it until the very end of October and fall boating is really fun.

What I’m watching/reading:

I am watching my Bravo shows – Below Deck, Real Housewives of New York, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and Mason and are excited for Big Brother August 5. We started a tradition of watching it together a few summers ago. I guess we will watch what we can and then DVR the rest for when he comes home. Jack will watch New Girl with me every now and again and we both laugh so hard.

What I’m listening to:

I realized this week that I haven’t been turning on music as much as usual. I love the Spotify playlists so I need to turn one on today. I tend to have t.v. or a podcast on in the background.

What I’m wearing:

I’m not wearing anything photo worthy most days. I really want to start getting dressed each day and figuring out how to take outfit photos from home. I don’t have a great mirror right now and I need to play around with my tripod. I hope to have that coming to the blog soon. I know I am much more productive when I take the time to get ready. I also have been wondering about the effects on feet if you don’t wear supportive shoes while working at home.

What I’m doing this weekend:

I am hoping to socialize with two of our couple friends Friday or Saturday night and then we have a boating plan for Sunday with some friends. This will be the first time we will have non-family on the boat this year. Mason plans to go to a drive-in movie one night so that will be his first time doing that.

What I’m looking forward to next month:

Even though I am sad, I am looking forward to really deep cleaning and de-cluttering the house after the boys move to their dorms. I have been working on this, but hope to really get everything done after that.

Also, we were waiting to not disrupt the boys summer, but I am looking forward to starting the next part of the renovation – the master bathroom.

What else is new:

Nothing! It’s Groundhog Day every day around here for now!

What’s up with you? Leave me your answer to one or more of these questions!

Amy

Easy Weeknight Dinner:Cacio E Pepe

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

I starting seeing this dish on many restaurant menus back in the pre-pandemic times. I took a chance and ordered it and loved it! Cacio e Pepe simply means cheese and pepper. You know how sometimes the simplest of foods can be the best? This is a prime example. I remembered this dish recently and went in search of a recipe. I do believe that mine came out “restaurant quality”. My son Mason says that this is the question I most often ask at dinner. He always compliments my food and I ask if he thinks it’s “restaurant quality”? Ha! What is restaurant quality these days? I simply don’t remember!

I think you could easily throw some shrimp or chicken in this. You could serve some sauteed or roasted vegetables along side it or a simple green salad.

The ingredients: As with many things in life quality matters. Use real butter and use real parmesan. I bought a small block of parmesan at Trader Joe’s. Especially when making a simple meal like this, quality of ingredients can make a difference.

You need:

6 oz. pasta of your choice (Normally it will be spaghetti or bucatini (spaghetti that is hollow!) In the photo above, I used regular spaghetti that I accidentally got in my grocery order. I am using angel hair now because that is what my family prefers. Something fun for your kids might be to explore all the different shapes of pastas available (online) and to try some new shapes?

3 T. butter

3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water right before you drain it (I was shocked to learn how often chefs use this!)

pepper

salt

about a cup of parmesan freshly shredded – do not buy the bag of already shredded – did you know that have cardboard/cellulose to keep it from sticking?

Cook your pasta like you normally do.

Right before you drain it, use your ladle to get out about 3/4 cup of the pasta water.

Melt 2 of the 3 T. butter in a large skillet.

Add pepper.

When butter is melted, add your pasta water.

Now, add pasta.

Use tongs to incorporate everything.

Add a bit of salt.

Add cheese and stir a bit.

Serve immediately.

When I ordered it at the restaurant It was between $10-12. You can make this at home for way less and it will definitely be “restaurant quality”!

Have you ever had this?

What restaurant meals are easy to re-create?

Buon appetito!

Amy