The Unofficial Start to Summer

Welcoming in this past weekend meant we got to welcome Max back home from Japan! The Huntsville airport is pretty small, so we literally got to see Max's plane (in from his Dallas layover) pull in and see him walk onto the jet bridge. I have never seen little man so excited for anything. Literally, Parker couldn't even nap that day because he didn't want to miss the "ah-puhhh!" and "Dada!" And when the plane finally came in, he just kept saying "Dada oooowwwwt! Dada oooowwwt!"

 The best part of business travel for the wifey and kids? The goodies Dada brings home! Treats from Tokyo!

As per usual while Max was away, I skipped making dinner all week long. Parker eats a million mini meals throughout the day and usually eats a deconstructed version of whatever Max and I are having anyway, so "not making dinner" when it's just me and P isn't any different for him (he still gets veggies, fruits, meats, etc.). And I, like I wrote about in this post, get to eat ice cream for dinner. Incredible. But since even I can't subsist on ice cream alone, I also roasted up a big ol' pan of CSA veggies to munch on all week, and made this super easy Rosemary Flatbread from Kevin & Amanda. I was twelve kinds of excited to come across her recipe because it looked amaze, and we had all the ingredients in the house already (Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough, rosemary, olive oil, and salt - the list wasn't long!). Fresh bread and a plate of yummy vegetables? My former vegetarian self was totally smiling. 

I also enjoyed this sound machineall week. We've never used sound machines (even with Parker) because I never wanted to be dependent on them. However, while Parker and I were on travel last month, our sweet Scottsdale friends set us up in a guest room with a sound machine. I thought it was such a thoughtful item to have in a guest room, and I swear it helped me fall asleep faster! So, I ordered the same one for our guest room, with the intention of "borrowing" it every time Max leaves on travel (if you have a spouse who travels, you know it can be hard to fall asleep when they're gone!). It's been so nice having it!

I totally recommend having some fresh flowers around if the spouse is away! Nice excuse, right? And since it's peony season...

During the week, Sweet P and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather with lots of outdoor activities including picnicking outside. Parker discovered his love for macarons (or, as per usual, he just decided that what Mamma was eating looked way better than what he had, ha!).

I'm so happy we enjoyed some outside time, because this is what our weather looks like for the next week or so, eek!

We rounded up the weekend with our very first Memorial Day in the South. We were lucky to be able to watch Huntsville's Cotton Row Run pass right in front of our house bright and early Monday morning! There were actually three races, a 10K, 5K and 1 mile fun run. Over two thousand people competed in the 10K, and it was so much fun to cheer them on. 

Parker's favorite part was pointing out the "beebos" (belly buttons).

Hoping your Memorial Day was full of remembrance. 
Happy unofficial start to summer!


Garden Update: May

Back in April, my mom helped me start my very first garden. We planted heirloom tomato seedlings that we purchased at the Botanical Garden sale, and look how they've grown! I added cages for them this month, and I'm already spotting flowers! 

We also planted several different herbs, including basil and mint. Then, last week I read that mint shouldn't be planted in the ground because it will take over everything around it. So, I uprooted and potted the mint (and oh my word, the roots were already out of control so I'm glad I moved it when I did!). 

I also had to uproot and move the kerria bush we had planted after I found its tag, which indicated it needed shade. This gave me more room to plant veggies! I added a bell pepper starter from a local nursery, and also okra seeds. Okra was the one and only thing Max requested, so I'm crossing my fingers it grows. 

So far, so good. This is a close-up of the okra yesterday morning:

And another from yesterday evening: 

Yep, we check on the garden that often. Parker's favorite place to be is "owt-tiiiide!" so he never turns down an opportunity to go in the backyard. We even picked up his own little watering can. 

He just loves to help out!

Happy gardening!

Daddy & Mini

For Father's Day two years ago, I gifted Max (and Parker) their first ever matchy-matchy shirts.

Since then, the fun has just continued. It's such a sweet way to celebrate this special relationship.

What's even more fun is that Parker is finally at the age where he knows what's going on - he knows he matches Dada. And Little Man loves it. He goes to his closet and points to his "Dada Shirts!" and will point to himself all day while wearing one, proclaiming "Dada!" If you are looking for some matchy-matchyness for this Father's Day, here are some other options...
toddler sailboat shirt | adult sailboat shirt

toddler swim trunks | adult swim trunks

And finally, a brand putting out their own version of Daddy and Mini: Pair of Thieves Dad + Kid!

My sister-in-law actually alerted me to the Dad + Kid sock display she spotted at Target. Unfortunately, the Dad + Kid packs can only be found in stores (though you can purchase adult sizes online).

What are you planning for Father's Day?

Strawberries For Days

With (most of) the full gallon of strawberries we picked earlier in the week still in the fridge, Parker and I headed out to pick up our very first CSA box of the season last Thursday. Have I shared that I'm twelve kinds of excited about belonging to Community Supported Agriculture this summer?? Local produce? Every week? Yes, please! Imagine my chuckle when I spotted strawberries in our basket. 

But wait. We also signed up for a "Fruit Lovers" add-on to the regular box. So every week in addition to the mostly veggie half bushel, we'll also get two pounds of fruit. One guess what this week's fruit was. 

Yep, we have strawberries coming out of our ears. As husby pointed out, that's not a bad thing. In fact, lots of those strawberries have been gobbled up just by themselves. But since we do have so many, I'm making an effort to incorporate them into our meals and treats. 

First, Strawberries + Brown Sugar Dip. Max initially made this for me when we were dating. The dip is just a mix of brown sugar and sour cream (sounds odd, but it's fabulous!). Since we didn't have sour cream on hand, I made this dip with plain greek yogurt and brown sugar. To make, just plop a dollop of yogurt in a bowl and stir in lots of brown sugar. Yum!

 Next, I added strawberries to my morning toast with cream cheese. A perfect breakfast. 

One of my very favorite salads is this super simple Strawberry Salad. Start with mixed greens, and add strawberries and sugared almonds. Toss with any jarred Poppyseed Dressing and you have a gorgeous salad (I also added goat cheese to this one).  

Finally, knowing about our strawberry abundance, my sweet sister sent this recipe for Strawberry Sorbet. It only requires four ingredients. Four! Strawberries, plain yogurt, honey, and lemon juice. And all you need to make it is a food processor. It seemed too good to be true. I was expecting a disaster, but look!

Perfect, no? The sorbet was ridiculously simple to make, and I cannot believe how well it turned out. I even added a sprig of fresh mint from the garden. And you might have noticed I'm totally loving my Lilly for Target plates! They are the perfect size for small meals and snacks. 

What do you do when you have strawberries for days??

Mama Reads

I just finished the last of a string of what I'm calling "Mama Reads" - books all centered around being a Mama, and this Mama just couldn't get enough! Though I am obviously not addicted to prescription pain killers (like the Mama in the first book), and I don't live in Australia (book number two), and I'm not a working mom (like in book number three), I still could relate to so much of what was going on in the lives of these characters, making them great reads. 

First was All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner. This novel follows a wife and Mama as she copes with life's challenges by popping pills. She starts with prescription drugs, and her habit quickly spirals out of control. I found the details fascinating, from how she purchased the pills (illegally with bitcoin on the Internet!) to how she hid her habit. A unique and interesting read for sure.

Next was Big Little Lies. I had read about so many bloggers loving author Liane Moriarty; she seemed to be all the rage. But, when I picked up The Husband's Secret last year, I just couldn't get past the first chapter. All the different characters and voices to follow? I just wasn't up for it. Big Little Lies, however, was another "Mama Read"; it was speaking my language with all the Mamas in there. It had me hooked from the first page (despite the many different characters and voices, ha!). I loved that it also started with a crime that wouldn't be revealed until the end of the book (it made it quite the page-turner). This book followed a group of Kindergarten Mamas in Australia (I've always abbreviated kindergarten as "kinder" but they abbreviate it as "kindy" which I think is twelve kinds of adorable. I totally want to bring "kindy" to the U.S.). One has a husband who travels often for work, and I laughed out loud when she talked about secretly loving having him gone so she could eat toast for dinner. While I don't love it at all when Max is away on business, I will totally agree that pretty much the only perk to having him on travel is that I don't have to make dinner. Toast for dinner? That's so me. Except replace "toast" with "ice cream" (wink). I also felt for the teacher in this story. After teaching elementary school for seven years, I know quite well what it is like to field emails all day long from concerned parents - though it was interesting to see the teacher this time through the eyes of those parents and to be on the other side of the school drama.

Finally, a light-hearted memoir called Sparkly Green Earrings. This book was written by a blogger, and it chronicles her journey to motherhood, as well as adventures in parenting. It was written with lots of humor - a perfect read if you want to put a smile on your face. It's also a great "you're not alone" book for those tough parenting days - sometimes it's just nice to hear other crazy stories to put everything into perspective.

What's your next read??

Strawberry Fields Forever

Parker and I are back in Sweet Home Alabama! We had a whirlwind of travel in April and May, flying to Texas, California, and Arizona! We were able to visit all the grandparents, attend my sister's baby shower, and see lots of friends and family along the way. Parker continues to be quite the frequent little flyer - he logged in 24 flights last year alone, and I have officially given up on keeping track of his actual running total (I think it's in the mid thirties). We had a blast, but travel is exhausting!

When we returned, I made it a point to enjoy the last bit of spring Alabama is offering before our first summer hits. One of the "spring activities" in our area is strawberry picking! You'd think growing up in California that I had done this before, but not so! I had never even heard of "you-pick" farms before moving to the South. So one sunny and seventy-degree day last week, Parker and I drove the thirty minutes up north first thing in the morning to arrive at Brown Farms.

Since it's later in the season for them (they run through the end of May), they only had their far field left for picking so Parker and I used one of the farm's wagons and hiked the short trek out there. 

We purchased the "you-pick" gallon for $11.50 - what a bargain!

 Parker got the hang of it right away. 

He was so proud to pick those strawberries and put them in the basket!

Scouting out more! 

They were seriously beautiful, and fresh as could be!

Parker had to run and get just one more for his "mouth" before we started the walk back.

So long, strawberry fields! 
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