Friday Favorites

Friday, July 1, 2022

It’s time to link up here for Friday Favorites!

It’s been a week! Tom has been home with Covid and the rest of us have been trying to avoid him and getting it. I’ve been sleeping on the couch. One of my sweet kids offered up their room but I turned it down. I will remember which one offered, though! I have not exercised because I didn’t want to take this to the gym or Jazzercise in case I was going to get it. So…it’s been a week. I’m so glad I had such a full weekend and a fun Monday before this hit!

Here are some of my favorites from the week so I am not too much of a Debbie Downer.

I got my Real Simple in the mail. I love looking at this magazine.

I picked up my two kimonos from the tailor. Good as new!

We had some cool mornings this week.

I still sat outside but I had to add my favorite Gap pajama pants. I love these pants! By the way, I am constantly reaching for my Target slides. I love these shoes so much. I really need to order a size down so that they fit better and I have them when they are discontinued. They are wonderful. I think they are my most comfortable summer sandals.

I am really enjoying this book!

Did you see my cocktail recipe yesterday?

I tried to make jam! It was super easy, but I think I messed up the ratio of fruit to pectin so I need to try it again because it was more runny like an ice cream or waffle topping. Maybe I will do raspberry? It’s really fun. My sister tried it, too!

I have now tried both of these kits and the watermelon is the clear winner for me. I didn’t think the strawberry had much flavor.

The watermelon vinagrette in this kit is to die for! And, isn’t the package so cute!

I have been mixing it up this week with my second favorite Premier flavor of caramel.

I tried to do regular instant coffee for my protein iced coffee and it was sub par. I went back to this from Trader Joe’s. It’s perfect!

I have taken over the dog walking duties and I snapped this early morning photo of Ernie through this pretty flowering bush.

I wear my short boots from Costco in the morning. These were $20 and I am so glad I bought them. The grass is so wet in the mornings so boots are the only way to go. These have faux fur inside them, too. I really like short boots. They are just so easy!

My ultimate favorite of the week was my Monday rooftop pool day.

I wore my new suit from Aerie for only $30 and I loved it!

We chose our chairs (they provided towels) and they promptly brought us a menu with drinks and food options.

I chose the cheeseburger and it was really good!

The weather could not have been better and we enjoyed almost 5 hours of relaxation in our lounge chairs, in the pool, in the hot tube, and on the shady side of the roof when we got too much sun. I should have taken more photos but I was in the moment.

What were your favorites this week? What are your long weekend/holiday weekend plans? One of my kids has to work all weekend and ours are up in the air for now.

Thanks for reading,

Amy

Monthly Musings and a Cocktail Recipe – the“Transfusion”

Thursday, June 30, 2022

This is the last day of June! Ay! I love June! It’s not usually too hot for us and summer is still so new and fresh. July is good, too, but it starts heating up and I get a little sad because it means summer is at the halfway point. No!

The first time I heard about the cocktail called the “Transfusion” it was on Bravo’s Below Deck. An annoying charter guest asked for it and explained what was in it and I took notes! It’s a horrible name for a cocktail – especially after Covid, no? And, no, you don’t prepare this in an IV bag or anything. Then, I repeatedly heard reality show people ask for this. I had all of the ingredients so I made it happen this week! Maybe I was a little tired of being Tom’s Covid nurse and I needed a transfusion! It’s a little bit like my Purple Rain cocktail, by the way!

I used a shot of vodka, a shot of grape juice, a half of a stick of Crystal Light grape (so I didn’t need as much of the caloric grape juice), and a splash of water. I mixed that up really well. Then, I added ice and filled to the top with Diet ginger ale.

It was super easy and really yummy! You do have to enjoy grape flavors to like this cocktail because it is pretty grape-y! I loved the nice purple color, too! After doing a little bit of reading on this cocktail, I plan to add some lime juice next time as the recipes I have seen include this!

Now onto Monthly Musings – Summer Travel…

I am linking up with Holly and Patty!

Favorite Summer Destination:

Europe! But, it is so busy in the summer in certain places. I would love to go to Europe in the fall or I would love to see Christmas in Germany maybe? But, for many of the last several years, we would head north in the summer while everyone else heads south. Lake Michigan is just divine in July and August. There is no salt in the water (I once got salt in my contact lenses in Hilton Head and it was painful), no fear of sharks, and we can be there in less than 5 hours. What more could you want?

I prefer warm weather destinations usually!

This summer, sadly, we did not make any plans. I am so glad we traveled so much before our kids entered high school because travel became trickier. But, we still did make a few trips work after that. Now, one of them works an internship until I go back to school with really no opportunity to take off. We talked about going on just a couples trip, but we are probably just going to save our money for our college tuitions and home renovations. I keep reminding myself there are seasons in life.

We mainly drove on all of our family vacations because it was just more affordable and we needed lots of stuff and a car to get around.

I love oceans and lakes the most!

I love packing! I know that is weird, but it’s true. I start packing about a week before and I start with making sure everything is clean and not wearing anything I might want to take on the trip. I was lucky to have a guest room where I could lay out all of my stuff and my kids’ stuff. I would add and subtract during the week leading up. Tom was on his own and we seriously always waited on him to be done packing!

Another tip is to keep a list of possible places you want to travel to in your phone memo.

We are not the kind of people who wait until 7:00 to go eat and then wait two hours. No way! We like to be kinda different than everyone else – eating dinner really early or going out to lunch.

I was really good about researching free or discount days for activities in the area I was going to be traveling to. We packed breakfast foods and some condo/house necessities so we wouldn’t have to buy certain things when we got there.

I am probably an overpacker, but I do try to pick a color scheme and be as smart as I can. Shoes are always my downfall! I also am like a girl scout in that I want to be prepared for anything!

We would usually plan spring break in January and then start working on summer after Spring Break, so we didn’t plan too far in advance.

We went to Lake Michigan with my side of the family many times. Here we are in this photo with extended family:

We camped several times with Tom’s side of the family. Tom’s parents had an RV and we pitched a tent beside them. We camped with Tom’s German family when they visited, too.

Lake Michigan! Looks like the ocean, right?

So, our first dog Archie didn’t get to go many places, but he had some incredible dogsitters. Ernie is well traveled, though. He is a great car traveler. Here is Ernie in Lake Michigan and he has been there 3 times.

There are actually lots of dog-friendly rental houses on VRBO. I haven’t looked at other sites much. Ernie has also been to Dauphin Island, Alabama. We rented a great house there. He could go down the steps and be in the water in minutes. He is a big water boy. We love walking with him in the mornings and the evenings and he naps when we go do things.

We also love taking the train into Chicago when we go to Lake Michigan. I am obsessed with train travel and wish we had more available in this country. We went to the Shedd Aqaurium and the Chicago Art Institute and we, of course, ate Chicago style pizza. The train dropped us off right where we wanted to go and we didn’t have to pay for parking which is crazy in Chicago and all big cities, I think!

Last summer we did a short trip to Nashville. Let’s just say our kids are not into the Nashville vibe.

Our kids were great car travelers just like Ernie. I love Jack’s reading position here.

Mason on a tablet:

Our family’s favorite road trip was an epic one that happened over Spring Break. We drove to Universal Studios without telling them where we were going. They were big into Harry Potter and mainly focused on Harry Potter world. Then, we drove through central Florida and did a swamp boat ride. Finally, we drove to the keys, stopping along the way to see and do different things. We ended in Key West and stayed there for a few days. We hopped on a boat to go to the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson where we toured the fort and snorkeled.

The sunset celebration nightly in Key West is so pretty:

Our kids’ first plane ride was at age 13, almost 14 – to Germany for two weeks! We wanted to get them there before they started high school.

We did the high speed train to travel throughout Germany and Tom is smiling!

We just renewed the kids’ passports – we got them back in about 7 weeks, so we are hopeful to do something exciting sooner rather than later? Jack has an opportunity to go to Italy with his college choir and Mason might do study abroad soon, so we had to get the passports prepared just in case.

I still was/am? worried about the flight delays and cancellations this summer and the amount of people cashing in on all of those cancelled Covid trips!

On my list:

Spain, Mexico, England, Ireland, Scotland, Maine, Boston, Nantucket, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Niagra Falls and Canada, and so much more!

What about you? Let me know if you try the Transfusion and what are your travel plans?

Amy

What’s Up Wednesday

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

I thought I would join this fun link up today with Sheaffer and Shay! But, seriously, how is it the last week of June!

What we’re eating this week...

Monday we had a special treat because everyone was home! We had our favorite mediterranean restaurant food take out. We also tried Jen’s taco casserole this week – yum! I added some taco sauce on top when I served it.

I found these two salad mixes this week:

One of my kids and I tried the watermelon for lunch and it was really good. The dressing makes it!

Shay’s post on freezer jam inspired me. I had always wanted to make it but I was intimidated by the boiling of the mason jars. This is so easy! You just run your jars through the dishwasher for sterilizing and there is no boiling involved. You chop your fruit, mash your fruit, add sugar, let it sit, add liquid pectin, and then jar up and let sit on your counter for 24 hours before putting it in the freezer or fridge. It lasts for a year in the freezer and 3 weeks in the fridge.

If I can do it, anyone can!

What I’m reminiscing about…

Just enjoying all of the Facebook memories of my kids popping up. I really and truly loved the summers with my kids. I blinked and they are now halfway through college. This hammock picture makes me laugh. They had these short sleeved button downs that they called “Grandpa shirts” because if my Dad wasn’t wearing a polo type shirt, he was wearing one of these.

What I’m loving…

Gosh, so much. I love summer mornings on my patio, my coffee combo right now – fat free half and half with Jordan’s skinny syrup in caramel creme flavor (frothed together), slow mornings, more time with friends…

Monday was really fun. One of my summer bucket list items was to go to the rooftop pool at the Omni hotel; they sell day passes for Sunday-Thursday. My friend Beth helped me accomplish this!

We had such a fun day!

What we’ve been up to…

We have been doing summer activities. We have been boating and I have been to two different pools in the last week, one of them was the rooftop pool from above.

And, then this happened…

Tom had not had Covid yet as far as we knew. He started having some coughing and congestion on Saturday night but he always has a bit of this with allergies and he had been outside a ton and done a lot of yard work. Monday when I got home from the pool day he had started feeling worse so we tested him and he was positive.

Me at the store getting sick supplies for him:

I was hoping not to need this patriotic mask again!

I got him Gatorade and some magazines. We decided he would hole up in our room.

What I’m dreading…

I am dreading the soul-sucking professional developments that I have to attend before school starts. In addition, we have to watch like 15,000 training videos. They add more and more each year. I am dreading seeing school supplies in the stores too early, too! Lol! Triggering!

What I’m working on…

It’s a constant, but I am working on decluttering different spaces. I have done my spices and my medicines so far. I have worked on my kitchen towel drawer, too. I am also working on a cleaning routine – when to do what. I’m working on keeping my new bathroom really clean. And, I am currently carrying around Lysol for Tom!

I am also deciding what to make for 4th of July. I wanted to make some rice krispie treats for Tom’s work peeps, but that is probably not going to happen now.

What I’m excited about…

I am excited to go to the Van Gogh Exhibit next week with my whole family!

What I’m watching…

I am watching Southern Charm and Real Houseweives of Dubai on Bravo and Ex-Housewives Ultimate Girl’s Trip Season 2 on Peacock alone and as a family we are watching The Riches on Hulu (this only happens a couple of nights a week when everyone is home).

With just my kids, we are enjoying Abbott Elementary on Hulu. You should check it out!

What I’m reading…

I just finished this book. It was cute, but predictable. It was also very, very R rated.

And, now I am on to this and I am so excited!

What I’m listening to…

My favorite podcast Watch What Crappens and The Lazy Genius. I have also started listening to the Simple Sophisticate that Shay recommended.

What I’m wearing…

Well, I am wearing a bathing suit and a cover up quite a bit lately.

What I’m doing this weekend…

I really don’t know yet!

What I’m looking forward to next month…

Our anniversary (need to make plans!) and the Van Gogh exhibit and trying to squeeze the most out of summer.

What else is new…

I can’t think of anything else!

Thanks for reading,

Amy

Eating Lately

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

It’s time for another edition of “Eating Lately”. You all seem to really enjoy these posts and I get a lot of comments. I think we are all constantly struggling with what to make and eat, no?

I’m not doing great in the eating department – let’s just get that out there. We have had more treats in the house with Tom’s birthday, Father’s Day, the college kids at home, and the list goes on. Also, I am staying up later and that makes me more snack-y!

I am waking up the next day and just telling myself it’s a new day and a new chance to eat well and feed my body well. I am trying not to over-obsess. I do want to lose more weight, but I am also ok with maintaining for now.

I am really learning to plan, prep, and cook before I get to the point of “starving” because that’s when I make the not so good choices.

Because I’m not meal prepping like I do in the school year, I feel like I’m cooking a lot.

Here is a common breakfast for me. This is a Spanish omelette. They don’t flip their omelettes, but rather, they keep it more like a pizza. The potato or potato and onion omelette is their most popular. I make a smaller version and use two eggs and two egg whites and some water. I usually will slice up an already cooked baked potato and only use about half.

This is Shay’s Spicy Asian beef bowl, which I highly recommend – except use oyster sauce instead of the chili paste. I felt that tasted really harsh and way too spicy. I have made this three times now. I tried it once with ground turkey and didn’t like it nearly as much. I am now sticking with Laura’s lean ground beef.

Can’t stop and won’t stop on the Greek bowl. I usually have this for a lunch because my family is not as excited about this.

B

Buffalo Chicken with cauliflower rice, homemade light ranch, celery, and a steak roll from Walmart:

Tip on the cauliflower rice. Some people think they don’t like it, but I have cracked the code and I’m obsessed. Always use frozen. Let it thaw on paper towels for quite awhile and then really cook it – let it get brownish. Add a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. It really makes a difference.

Another omelette but with mushrooms and onions:

Boca burger and one of those side salad mixes from Kroger:

Trying to choose proteins and salads at restaurants, but I try to always get to share some fries, too!

I almost always choose fajitas at Mexican restaurants now.

I usually leave the rice and beans alone.

I made a couple of new things for lunch this week. I used English muffins and on the left is a buffalo chicken open faced sandwich with a little bit of cheese on top. On the right is chicken, roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, and balsamic.

I’m still loving this grilled chicken from Costco in the refrigerated section. It is the best I have tried. Many of the already grilled chicken products I have tried are slimy. I don’t do slimy chicken.

If I want some bread, a great option are these cute little frozen Trader Joe’s baguette breadsticks.

Whole wheat bowtie pasta with jarred Prego and Laura’s lean ground beef. I really like whole wheat pasta now! The secret is to cook it a bit longer.

Burrito bowls are usually a once a week thing for us. This was Tom’s with regular rice and mine is the same but with cauliflower rice.

My skinny margarita, too!

I love having this frozen vegetable mixture on hand from Costco. Sometimes these can be bad, but this one is excelllent. I sometimes will have this with some eggs for breakfast.

I have also been eating a lot of my veggie sandwich – vegetable cream cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, or whatever you want. In addition, I have had a few deli turkey sandwiches. My goal this week is to eat at least one salad a day. I have been slacking on my salads lately!

What have you been eating?

Amy

Friday Faves

Friday, June 24, 2022

It’s Friday and that means it’s time to share the favorites from the week along with many others here!

Here are mine from the week!

Have I ever told you we use cloth napkins? I bought a nice pack or two at World Market a long time ago and I keep them in a wooden bowl. We fancy! Just kidding – we are most definitely not, but I really don’t like paper napkins and I really do like cloth. We used cloth napkins in Spain when I was an exchange student and you had to use the same napkin for a week. You knew which yours was by which napkin ring it had on it. We don’t use ours for a week! I have about 20 of them in all different fun, bright colors. I am very picky about the feel of the material and these from World Market are perfect. Which makes me think…I need to go there! I love that store! Do you have one?

I’m really enjoying my new plant head I got last weekend and I think she looks great right here. One of my three flowers from Trader Joe’s already died, so this replaced it.

And, I finally filled my pot for this season. I wanted yellow because of my loose lemon theme on my back patio.

Summer Reading!

I finished this and I was so sad! This may very well be my favorite book of the summer. It is summer chick-lit at its finest. Now, I did have a few problems with some parenting decisions made – like you wouldn’t really do that…

And, I started this. This was on the shelf at my library and I picked it up on a whim. I think it’s going to be really cute, but a little far-fetched. A major league baseball player is being sent down to a lesser team and a girl buys him a coffee in the airport… you get the drift!

Ok – this was recommended by Jennifer and by a sweet man in the Target wine aisle a few months ago and I had forgotten to go back and get it. I actually found this bottle at Total Wine. It has a bit of a sparkling quality to it and it is pineapple! So good! And, it would be great with a wedge of fresh pineapple in it, too!

I personally love a screw top. It just makes life easier! What, you say? You never need this because you never have leftover wine? Ha!

I did my own pedi with…

OPI Gelato on my Mind:

I just put $40 into my clothing budget by doing my own pedicure! By the way, I almost always do it outside and then I read while it’s drying.

I may have mentioned this before, but it really works:

Poo-Pourri! If you are staying in someone’s home, it might be nice to have and I think I picked it up in the Target travel size bins. I keep it in our upstairs bathroom because we only have one bathroom upstairs right now.

I bought this amazing and only 30 calories a serving cocktail mixed for a bourbon old fashioned. It is so good. My friend Victoria made us drinks with it. She added a bit of lemon juice and diet gingerale so I did the same.

I added a $5 bag of birdseed to my last Kroger pick up order and this gives me so much enjoyment.

I have two bird feeders and the squirrels also get into them.

What did you do on the longest day of the year on Tuesday? It was a hot day for us, but in the shade there was a nice breeze and it felt great after dinner. I took my shoes off and put a chair in the grass and read my book. It made me think that I need to sit in different parts of my yard for different perspectives. Deep thoughts!

This is how Ernie spent the longest day of the year:

I got more than I bargained for at my dentist visit this week. My dentist is my college roommate’s husband, by the way. My kids and I have always had 3 cleanings at the same time with 3 different hygienists, by the way. It’s super efficient and I love it! So, this was the first time they drove separately because one of them had plans afterwards. About mid-way through our cleanings, we had to evacuate because there was a fire right outside the office building and right by our cars! We had to move our cars quickly and wait until it was safe to go back in the building.

I have the perfect summer lip color. It is kinda old lady in Florida, but I love it. You might, too, and the price is right. This is my second stick because I lost my first one that I bought last year. It is Katy Perry lipstick, by the way! Ha!

On my old looking hand:

On my lips – awkward!

And, I like to pair it with my second NYX “This is Milky” gloss. This gloss has a weird name, but it is seriously good. I am very picky about glosses.

This is “Milk and Hunny” and I have the pink, too.

Here is an awkward photo of what that combo looks like:

Those are not great photos, but I hope you get the idea!

I started eating one of these in the late afternoon and I really think I’m sleeping so well! Of course, I also might be sleeping so well because I’m out of school! Lol! You can actually take up to four a day, but I am just doing one. This was recommended by Melanie Shankle on The Big Boo podcast. They taste yummy, too! What the heck is Ashwagandha? I just enjoy saying it! My kids are tired of me saying it!

I bought a whole watermelon last week and it was the best one. I keep it cut up in this really old Tupperware container.

I had a fun late lunch this week with my friend Beth. She gets off of work at 1:30 on Wednesdays and agreed to try this new place. It is kind of Hawaiian/Mexican? I think.

We had a Painkiller cocktail.

Cauliflower tacos!

And some chips and queso.

We agreed we would definitely go back. We really liked it!

A couple of Facebook memories popped up this week!

First, this was my morning strategy for the summers of my kids’ childhood. I would find a forgotten toy from the playroom toy closet and bring it to the family room. This day was the good ol’ set of Lincoln Logs.

And, a sweet reading at the pool photo!

So, what were your favorites this week? I hope you had many!

Amy

What I Wore and Bought

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Ok, let’s see what I wore on the days I actually took the time to put together an outfit!

Look at me getting a cool “real blogger backdrop” with the help of my friends:

I wanted to try a “lewk” here. I wore my newish Amazon Cushionaire (lookalikes for MIA brand) clog sandals, my old Target Universal Thread cut offs, a target tank, and an old Nordstrom palm print kimono to go to lunch. I realized the kimono had a rip in it (and I had another kimono with a rip – is this a pattern for me?), so I took both of them to my tailor this week. I love getting clothing repaired because I feel like I’m making an item new again. I do consider the cost involved and try to ask myself if I would buy the item again today. I love this kimono and I think by tucking in the bottom tank it looks more flattering – maybe? I was trying to shy away from more voluminous clothing, but I really like the kimono shorts look and I hope it’s still on trend!

This is what I wore for the flea market and the Pride parade:

Same shorts, one of my Amazon woven belts, a Spanish t-shirt that tells you how to do a shot – ha! (It says “Up, down, out, in your body” basically – No, I don’t wear it to school!), my clear sandals, and my brown crossbody with my Gucci-esque strap.

That night, I wore the same shorts, my new Target plastic Birkenstocks, and my new Loft parrot shirt that had arrived – more details coming. I also used my Lululemon belt bag.

Do you have cutoffs yet? See how much I wear them?

And, for a trip to the dentist, I wore my Old Navy dress (still haven’t cut the lining out – I am a little afraid, but I think it needs to happen because it makes the dress a lot in the heat) and my new Amazon Essentials espadrilles.

A better look:

I bought a pair of espadrilles in Spain (because they are from there, I think?) back in 1989 and I wish I had kept them. I had a pair from Payless years ago, too! I think they are classic and comfortable and I had been wanting a new pair. I like the v-shaped indention on these. Also, my girls at school told me they don’t want to see “anyones’ dogs”. I guess this is a new thing that they don’t want to show toes at school? If you have teens have they mentioned this? Socks with Birks, you know? So, I think they will be good for school.

Now, let’s talk more about recent purchases:

I visited my consignment store and they had another check for me! I took my too big spring and summer clothes there in March and now have received $255 and I noticed that many of my things are still on their racks, so hopefully I will make a bit more to put back into my wardrobe. My consignment store stopped accepting summer stuff quite awhile ago! They start accepting fall on July 31st! Wow!

I also took my loose change to the Coinstar machine at Kroger and “made” $34. I always did this with my kids in the summer when they were little. They thought it was so much fun! Then, I would give them some money and they could buy something.

So, I took that money and went a’shoppin’.

I bought the above espadrilles.

This is a Loft mixed media shirt which means the material is different in the front than in the back. It’s super soft and I loved the parrots and I love orange.

And, I have been needing/wanting a solid black tank bathing suit. When I saw this and the fact that it was on sale, I gasped! Now, we will see if I picked the right size.

And, I usually add one new coverup to my collection each summer and then I keep it for years. I wanted something longer and a bit elegant? We will see if this works. It might be too long on me.

I picked yellow because the color makes me happy and it would work with my pink and black suits.

And, I needed/wanted a more elegant beach/pool bag and this was a good price, and I believed someone recommended it. But, if anything isn’t perfect, I will return it!

So, what have you been wearing and buying lately?

Get ready to hear all about the Nordstrom sale from everyone and their brother/sister in the blog and influencer world! You won’t see much from me about it – at least I don’t think you will! Also, are you ready to see fall clothing in the stores? It’s almost time for summer to be greatly discounted to make room for fall! Eeeeekkkkkk! I am not ready!

Amy

Back in the Nest – Life Update

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

I don’t know if this will appeal to all of you today, but I know there are some readers who are wondering about this stage of life that I am in. Some of you are close to this stage and some of you are beyond. You may have some wisdom to share!

First of all, I have said this many times, but this bears repeating. This is MY blog and not my kids’, so I try to really think about what I share from their lives. I also took this policy with social media when they became teens. I asked permission before I posted anything and the answer was usually “no” – ha! Most of my Facebook memories that pop up about them are from before age 13. They are not big into social media and never have been and I respect that. If I had started this blog earlier, you would probably have seen too much of my kids! Ha!

So, my twins are 19 and have completed two years of college. Without telling each other, they both decided on the same small liberal arts college 20 minutes from home. As a parent, this was a huge blessing to have them on the same schedule and to have the knowledge that they can help each other. Also, sending kids to college at basically the beginning of the pandemic was stressful. So, having them together and close was so helpful.

Don’t overlook colleges nearby because it makes everything easier – moving in and out, illness, getting to see some events that they are in, etc. I do wonder if they will feel they didn’t spread their wings enough, but there is time for that after graduating, too. We did feel that it was important for them to live on campus, but we knew that they could live at home if we had the need at some point. They have never roomed together and were in two different dorms most of the time, by the way.

Also, they did not have a car on campus the first year but then we bought them a car to share for their second year. They have to communicate with each other about using the car, which I think is just fine.

They moved back home for this summer mid-May and had about a week off before starting jobs. I told them to put all of their college stuff in the basement storage room, but to make sure it was all clean before doing so. I offered help, but they weren’t really interested in my help. I don’t go in their rooms. Their rooms are very messy and I hate it, but I also know that I am not going to drive myself crazy over it. They do not have food and drinks in their room, so that’s good.

They do their own laundry (and have for years) and it is both a good and bad thing. They take 3-5 business days to complete it and it ties up the washer and dryer. Tom also takes this approach, so go figure. I do my laundry and the house laundry and finish it in 2 hours. It’s not that hard!

They are pretty good about keeping their stuff contained to either their rooms or their basement hang out room.

I have noticed that they do more and more without being asked. They empty trash and recycling and put things away more than ever before. There is growth from the high school days when I had to constantly remind.

Jack is working at a dry cleaners with no air conditioning this summer and he says he hates it, but I think he would complain more if he really hated it. He can be dramatic. Sometimes he has funny stories to tell us or comments on the type of clothing he sees.

Mason is working outside (so no air conditioning here, either!):

The stage for Shakespeare in the Park at our Central Park. One of my kids has a summer internship doing “front of house” tasks.

So, Jack gets off work at 4:00 and Mason goes to work at 4:45. Mason has off on Mondays and Tuesdays and Jack is off on Tuesdays. They are sharing the car and it works out perfectly. They seem to appreciate the time they do get to spend together more, I think, because it is more limited than any other summer. They have a really nice relationship. I know not all twins do. Jack made sure the gas tank was full to save Mason time the other day.

I think this summer is building character. Neither of them have AC at their jobs and guess what…the AC in their car is broken, too! We are getting that fixed next week, though. I bought this little portable AC unit that plugs into a USB as a temporary fix. They said it doesn’t really work well.

I am a firm believer that we want our kids to have something to work toward and not to hand them everything. But, let’s face it – all American kids are spoiled to some degree. We have a lot in this country.

I also think they will be eager to be students again after their work experiences this summer. That’s not a bad thing. I still remember the switch from full time worker to full time student every August.

I started to write their work schedules in my planner and then I stopped myself. Nope – that’s on them.

I started to remind them when to leave for work and nag them about leaving earlier, but then I stopped myself and said nope again. It just makes them mad at me and then I get mad that they are mad.

Mason doesn’t get home until 11:30 pm-ish and I was waiting up when he first started, which was really hard for me. Jack told me that I shouldn’t because he is up anyway. I didn’t think I would be able to sleep, but I know Jack will come wake me if he is worried. And, of course Tom has no trouble not waiting up because MEN!

I had to realize that this summer we are not really spending a lot of quality family time, but we do have dinner twice a week on Mason’s two nights off – Monday and Tuesday. And, it makes the time we can spend together more appreciated.

I was also hesitant to plan my stuff for times when they would be home, but I realized that I can’t really do that.

Tom keeps the same schedule in the summer – up at 4:30 am, gym at 5:00 am, leave for work at 7:00 am. I love knowing that my kids are here asleep under my roof and I really love the quiet time after Tom leaves. He is loud! Ha! I try to go to workout and then get home before anyone wakes up, too.

Mason asked if he could spend the night with a friend the other night and I was thinking – you really don’t need to ask anymore, but it was sweet that he did.

Also, we went from 3 bathrooms to 2 because of our renovation project and it’s been ok. We decided to halt the third bathroom project while they are home because the disruption is a lot. I want to have it ready to go by August, though, with a goal of it being finished by winter break, at the latest.

So, it’s kind of a weird summer, but it’s all good. It took us a bit to find our footing with two more people in the house. I want our house to still feel like home to my kids and that is more important than every room being perfectly tidy all the time. I know that many kids this age start living in apartments and stop coming home in the summers.

I feel like I understand my parents more. You do get used to a neater house very quickly. You become more stuck in your routine after the kids leave the nest.

So, that’s where we are right now!

Amy

Jazzercise

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

I thought I would write about my experience trying Jazzercise. This would also apply to any type of group exercise class, I think! My first experience with Jazzercise was in college. Some friends and I went to a church near campus and it was a ton of fun; heck, it just felt like dancing! Then, I did it again as a young teacher with another teacher friend – Hi Sheila! You can burn up to 800 calories in a class is what I have read.

The classes are either 45 minutes or 60 minutes. All of the classes I have been to start with dance and end in some strength training.

The name stinks in my opinion. It is outdated. Everytime I tell my sister Molly that I am going to Jazzercise via text she sends me a 70s aerobics gif. Thanks, Molly! But, it has name recognition and has been around for a long, long time. I feel like such an old fogey – I do Weight Watchers and Jazzercise now. Could that be any more basic? Middle aged woman basic! Ha! But, as you may know, Weight Watchers is now called “WW”. Lol! By the way, my WW app gives me 5 activity points for a 60 minute class and 4 activity points for a 45 minute class, while walking or weightlifting only amounts to 2-3 points.

My apologies to the folks in this photo. They are older than me and way fitter so they should take it as a compliment. Also, I am positive they don’t read my blog.

Here are your paybacks, ladies – my face gets as red as a beet. Why is this photo so big? Ha!

Here is what I like about the classes so far:

-they play really upbeat music and you do feel like some of the moves can translate to da’ club. Not that I go to any clubs. Why aren’t there dancing opportunities that happen before 9:00 p.m.? Anyone? There is a lot of bouncing for those well endowed ladies, so get you a decent sports bra. But, they also give you adaptations if you need low impact.

-there are maybe 6 cardio based songs and then 4 strength training based songs at the end. I could be totally wrong about this. They change routines often.

-they don’t just have one type of class. You can also choose traditional class and there are strength classes and HIIT classes. You can read the descriptions on the website. Also, you can stream any class. I decided I didn’t want the app to do this because I need to go in person.

-they have multiple class times from 5:45 a.m. until the after work hours.

Other thoughts so far:

-I don’t really like having to plan my day around the class times. I like the freedom of going to the gym whenever. I have gone to 7:00 a.m., 8:10 a.m., and 9:30 a.m. classes so far. I decided that I like the 7:00 the best.

-I like that my location doesn’t have mirrors, but also mirrors would help me with my form, which leaves a lot to be desired, I’m sure.

-Some of the routines are kind of hard to learn. Or, they don’t repeat long enough for me to get a hang of one thing before moving on. This is probably a good thing for the more experienced folks.

-I am probably the youngest or one of the youngest in the classes I have gone to. The instructors have been younger, though. There are some really fit older ladies in the classes, like I said. They are inspirational to me, though!

-The earlier in the day I go, the less crowded the classes are. I went to a 9:30 class and it was too crowded.

-I was super annoyed by two Chatty Kathys in their 60s that kept talking in front of me while I was trying to learn the routine and hear the instructor. Go get a smoothie after class, ladies!

-I have just worn shorts and a tank. They keep the room really cold and have fans, so that is really nice. I don’t feel like it’s a Lululemon fashion show at all.

-they don’t call you out or tell you that you are doing anything wrong. It is very non-judgey.

-It is really hard to try something new as an adult and risk not being very good at it. I didn’t know if I could make it through 60 minutes but I did on the very first time!

-I walked up to the instructor before each class and said I was new and that if I couldn’t make it through the whole class “it’s me, not you”. They were all so nice and then commended me at the end of the class (even though I didn’t deserve the praise!)

-It really has gotten easier each time I have gone.

Have you tried anything new lately? It doesn’t have to be a physical activity. I think it’s important as we age to try new things (not drugs, though – unless you want to, I guess). I think it’s good for our kids to see us try new skills, too (again, not drugs, though).

Amy

Hello Monday

Monday, June 20, 2022

Ok, June, you need to slow down! Eek! Who is ready to see lots of food photos? I debated including all of these, but sometimes I think it gives readers ideas and sometimes I think it’s good to show you reality. It’s all about balance!

I am linking up with Sarah and Holly, so here we go…

Friday I was supposed to go to the pool with Erica and Elizabeth, but the weather was dicey so we did lunch instead at Hillcrest Tavern. I had a grapefruit shandy. I was first introduced to this in Germany and it’s so good!

I had a really good salad with grilled chicken and…

we shared some parmesan truffle fries! Yum!

I had a nice stack of books to pick up at the library after that.

Jack got home from work and then Mason left for work and I asked Tom if he wanted to hit the gym on a Friday night with me. We had both been lazy Friday morning!

Above photos for proof!

Oh, and I made chili Friday morning. It was rainy and dreary and Mason had asked me to after having subpar chili Monday night at the restaurant. I added the soy noodles to mine. I think I’m taking a break from these noodles – I think I will do whole wheat, spaghetti squash or zoodles if I am not splurging. These noodles just get really soggy.

And, I had a sandwich on a 3 point Walmart steak bun and some salt and vinegar chips.

Saturday morning was cool! We had high 90s all last week, but then this weekend was beautiful! It was the perfect June weekend – weather-wise.

My hydrangeas are blooming! I know that I probably should have cut back the stalks and the dead flowers last season but I was afraid.

I met Elizabeth and Victoria (both French teachers!) at Paristown Flea.

I bought this cool plant head.

And, I bought real fruit earrings that are covered in resin.

Strawberries:

Blood oranges:

Yup, I am not delving into the realm of fruit earrings.

Then, we went to the Pride parade. It was so cool to see so many people out and happy to march for the first time in a few years. We all saw some people we knew, too. We caught some free stuff that was thrown out, too.

After the parade, we went to The Café and I copied off of Victoria because I hadn’t eaten there for a long time. We got tomato dill soup:

and a pimento cheese pizza on a pita. It was really unique and yummy!

We parted ways and I rested up for a bit and then…

Boat to dinner time! We had our friends Eric and Heather on the boat and we took about a 30 minute ride to a restaurant on the Indiana side called Summers.

They mostly have pizza so we shared a Hawaiian and…

a meaty pizza called The Captain.

The pizza was really good – all of us agreed!

We had a lovely ride back as the sun was starting to set. I put on my summer bucket list that I wanted to do more evening boat rides and this is why!

I was wiped out from all the sun and took a shower and watched a show with Jack.

Sunday morning Tom requested avocado toast and he wanted to spend the day doing yard work. He said the weather was so cool that it was the best day to do it. He did also go the the gym and take his best friend Ernie for a swim. Don’t think I forced him to work on his day!

We also made him cinnamon rolls:

I finished this:

Wow! I won’t say anything else, but I do recommend it. My favorite Sally Hepworth is still The Good Sister.

I started this next without realizing it is the same author as The Float Plan, which was my favorite summer read of last season. This is about the sister of the main character of The Float Plan. It made me so happy to realize that. And, I have a feeling this will be my favorite read of Summer 2022. Beach Read by Emily Henry was my favorite of two summers ago.

What makes this type of book the perfect summer read to me? They are well-written, but still rather light for summer, have characters that you enjoy and have some depth to them, and they are books you just don’t want to put down. They are kind of like the Top Gun Maverick of the women’s fiction world. They are just enjoyable!

I’m so happy to have my cake batter Premier Protein again, too. They took a sweet forever to get here – enough time for me to miss them. And, I looked on several store shelves to no avail!

I did laundry, cleaned a bathroom, cleaned my closet, went to The Fresh Market, but other than that I sat on the patio and read while I watched Tom do yard work – ha!

In the afternoon, I enjoyed a Truly. Then, I started cooking.

I made Sloppy Joes/Toms for Tom:

And, I made broccoli salad:

I also finally framed my two photos. They aren’t hung yet, but I think I love them!

I know this is a lot of sky, but I kinda like it like that.

This is our water company’s pumping station and water tower that houses an art museum. I think they are so pretty from the water and Tom’s sister had her wedding reception here!

Ok, I can’t be held responsible for the last piece (get it?) of information I am going to share. The Fresh Market has an even better chocolate cake than the one we had from Harry’s/Malone’s Monday night for Tom’s birthday. It is cut into slices and I just buy one at a time. I cut this into 3 or 4 portions depending on how many of my family want some.

If you have The Fresh Market, they may make this at yours. Again, I cannot be held responsible for anything that may happen if you try it.

How was your weekend? I hope it was a good one!

Amy

Friday Favorites

Friday, June 17, 2022

Happy Friday to all! I am linking up here where we share some favorites for the week. I have a quite a hodge podge for you this week.

First. let’s start with summer reading! I would recommend all of the books that I have finished so far this summer!

Emily Giffin books are always good summer reads. This one was inspired by JFK, Jr. and the Kennedy family and I really liked it!

This was a great read. I didn’t want to put it down.

I probably liked this one a little bit more because of the character named Fern.

Now I am reading this one and I am really enjoying it so far. I am so sorry Sally, for not picking up your books sooner.

I have a nice list of books requested at my library so this was totally free entertainment for me. I love having the time to read in the summer! I read year ’round, but I love reading outside, as you probably know!

Monday we celebrated Tom and his official senior citizen status. Yes, he turned 55! We are 4 and a half years apart in age. I always asks what he wants to do – dinner at home, dinner at a restaurant, an activity…

This year he chose for us to meet him at a restaurant after work. Luckily both kids were off work, so that was really nice. We went to Harry’s/Malone’s. Harry’s is the more casual part of the restaurant, but you can still order from the Malone’s menu.

I know his eyes are closed, but there is a smile, so I will take it!

I got a grapefruit sangria!

Their bread and butter are to die for!

We shared some edamame.

I got an amazing Thai salmon bowl. I could only eat half so I enjoyed the other half for lunch the next day. I will definitely get this again.

I think Tom chose this restaurant for their salmon salad.

Mason got chili? Ha – he said mine is way better so I put that on the menu for next week. My kids feel strongly that food should not be seasonal, so we will go with it. Chili sounds good to me, too, actually!

Jack has the palate of a kids’ menu so he got the cheeseburger and fries.

And, we took home their amazing chocolate cake.

We had a really nice evening, but we couldn’t believe how crowded and loud the restaurant was on a Monday night at 5:30!

I was happy to receive these this week, especially because groceries are so expensive and I have been buying way more than usual. Kroger no longer sends me the checks so I had to figure out how to redeem the points. I got $200 worth of gift cards from doing this. I am sure I will not remember how to do this again.

One day for lunch I had the dill pickle salad again – with added grilled chicken and cut up dill pickles! Yum!

One way to help me save money is to use what I have, know what I have, and communicate what we have. I keep this list (and add to it or change it) on our memo board so that J and M know what to make for their meals.

How are you dealing with higher grocery prices?

I finally got smart and am keeping all the little membership cards in my car so I don’t have to dig for them in my wallet.

It’s been super hot this week. June is usually super mild for us with temps in the low to mid 80s. This is August weather for us. Jack is working at a dry cleaners without air conditioning and Mason is working outside. This will build character, right?

This was kind of an impulse buy:

I had been wanting to try it. It has a cult following and often sells out. I saw it at Ulta about a month ago and I really like it. It costs $30, but hear me out – this can double as a light summer fragrance. I really like the scent.

My aloe vera plant and my

jade plant…

were given to me by my friend Beth because she has a kitten that was getting into them and they are not good for her. I am really enjoying my new plants!

My niece turned 21! I gave her money, but also my margarita recipe! I did the same for her sister.

Ernie has to stand watch over the yard to protect it from all of the squirrels, bunnies, and chipmunks and he takes this job very seriously.

Good boy! Ernie hates the heat. He was born in January and I always tell Tom that the cold weather energizes him. He is super dramatic about getting hot.

I am working on some wall decor for my bathroom. I don’t know if I did a good job with one of the photos but I really like how the other turned out. It was so cheap to enlarge these at Walgreen’s that I may re-do the one I don’t like.

So, what were your favorites this week? I hope you had many and thanks for reading!

Amy