Friday Favorites

How can there be only week left of summer vacation? This past week has flown by! The boys loved golf camp and have definitely caught the golfing bug. They are already discussing Fall lessons, and what clubs they are asking for, for Christmas! I’ve got all school supplies purchased, and I’ve just got to label a few last things before supply drop-off next week. I’m winding down my summer class which means I’m hustling to get final grades in, and then I’ll have a quick break to do some final lesson planning before the fall semester starts for me. Now on to some of our favorites of the week!

Summer side.

Shark inspired kids party. I’m thinking J might find this hilarious since his birthday is in February. Also these party favors would be awesome.

Striped sweater dress for that perfect summer to fall transition.

Home with a rainbow palette.

The most French of nighttime routines.

A little travel bag perfect for the boys’ items.

Styling all my trouser pants.

Favorite yoga practice of the week.

Currently reading.

And finally, my current favorite mascara.

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Currently reading…summer edition

A bit of what we’ve been reading this summer….

We are all about the series this summer! And a Crisis Communication Textbook. Ha! Along with the boys’ reads and my work read, here are some of the other books I’ve read from May-July.

About the Night

A story about star crossed lovers, who are forever changed by the divide of Jerusalem. It is sad in parts, but so wonderfully written and insightful. You’ll remember it long after you read it.

Park Avenue Summer

Perfect for summer, this story is historical fiction of sorts, featuring an up and coming photographer and the editor who changed the entire direction of the original Cosmopolitan magazine.

The Murmur of Bees

This by far one of my favorite reads of the year. I don’t want to give anything away, but essentially it is about a baby who is found and taken in by a family, and his journey with and apart from them. It’s a story about the strong ties of family and overcoming adversity.

Cat Among the Pigeons

My most current Agatha Christie read. It is a mystery (obviously) surrounding a school setting, with a murderous hunt for treasure.

A Piece of the World

Another historical fiction based on Andrew Wyeth’s inspiration for the painting Christina’s World, this was a very interesting read. So much so that I now have the Museum of Modern Art on my list to go see the painting in person.

Maisie Dobbs

This has been on my list for awhile. I’m a fan of Forever 35 podcast, and one of the hosts has talked about this series being her favorite, and they interviewed the author. It is kind of along the lines of Agatha Christie, but it has a much more personal connection to the investigator. It is also set in a very specific time period (right after World War I), and the author does a lovely job of intertwining the effects of the war with the mystery.

A has read every Percy Jackson book, and is re-reading the ones discussing Greek mythology:

Mythology was one of my favorite classes in high school and college, so we’ve had lots of fun discussions about the different myths!

J’s series of the summer has been Harry Potter. We are only letting him read books 1-3 for now, but this is the first time (and he loves to read) that he is reading everywhere we go. In the car, waiting at the pool, first thing when he gets up in the morning:

He’s been asking to watch The Chamber of Secrets all week, so this past weekend we watched it:

He was so excited! His favorite characters right now are Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall. And Harry Potter, of course. We are still debating if he can watch the third movie, but he’s already planning to go back and read the first three again.

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Friday Favorites

Deep summer. Also known as the time of year when we are in the middle of running kids from camp to camp, doing nothing in the afternoon to recover, and taking hardly any pictures. So I have one. From the kiddos picnic dinner outside because our Concert in the Park was rained out, with no rain. Now on to some of our favorites of the week!

Slow cooker chicken tostadas for dinner this week.

The bento boxes in my Target cart for the boys’ lunches.

A week of outfits.

Interesting article on making college a four year plan.

Gold pineapples and dark blues create warmth.

Cityscapes with watercolor and ink.

Making these cookies this weekend for our Chamber of Secrets movie night. J just finished the book!

A giant jellyfish!

Finally, how to start and keep a creative habit.

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Flame Tree Barbecue Review

We’ve been to Disney enough at this point that we now have “stand-by” repeat restaurants. One of these is Flame Tree Barbecue. We love it in part because the food is consistently good and in part because it has different offerings than your standard quick service hamburger. Located in a Discovery Island on the way to DinoLand U.S.A, one of the things to note is that all the seating is outside, but there are several areas under covering, and it is a lot of seating. The seating areas are also well themed:

Our favorite spot is the lower level that overlooks the water, and has a view of Expedition Everest:

This area does get crowded because it is well shaded! I definitely recommend using mobile order at Flame Tree Barbecue and if you can, have one person grab a table and drop a pin to their location while another person picks up the food. And now that I mentioned food….

B and A always split the rib, chicken, and pulled pork platter:

And this year J branched out and got the chicken drumstick:

I had the pulled pork with macaroni and cheese and onion rings:

The boys ate both my onion rings, so I definitely should’ve ordered a side of those.

And we topped it off with their seasonal cupcake:

This was one of my favorite desserts of the whole trip. It was a great balance of spices, cake, and apple, and also a good frosting to cake ratio. I also liked that this was very easy to eat. Some of the specialty desserts I’ve found to be very instagram worthy, but not easy to actually taste.

As you may have read before, Disney food spots can be inconsistent with their quality and experience. However, we have found that Flame Tree Barbecue is pretty much spot on every time, making it our go to lunch spot at Animal Kingdom!

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Prime day deals

We purchased a few things on “Prime Day”. I thought I’d share some of our best deals, and some of our favorites!

First up, these are the specific prime day deals…

The ring doorbell. This has been a long time coming in our house. Our front door has limited visibility, so this was something we’ve had on our list for awhile.

Sports thermoses for the boys. Another necessary item…all of ours are lost or broken.

Collagen peptides. A scoop of this goes in my coffee every day.


I’m starting on back to school shopping and copy paper is on the list (I bought the three reams 30% recycled for the best deal) .

This could be the best deal of the day for me, and I put it on my birthday list for B to purchase:

I also picked up this rarely on sale Stila liner:

Second, these aren’t prime day deals specifically, but were good prices:

Under Armour shoes for A:

Composition notebook packs for school supply list:

T-shirt sets for the boys:

Happy shopping!

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Friday Favorites


The kiddos have one week of swim lessons down! They boys are definitely stretching their skills this year, working on diving, backstroke, and longer periods of freestyle. And our newest swim lesson participant, my niece, is doing great working on her back float! This weekend we are headed to our local art walk downtown, and doing some hiking and biking with B’s parents if the weather holds out. I can’t believe we are winding down the second half of summer! Only three more weeks until school schedules, sports, and everything else is in full swing again!

Organization ideas from Target.

The puzzle we finished over the weekend.

Summertime lemonade options.

My yoga schedule for the month.

And a plan to get my heels on the ground for downward dog.

A cookbook dedicated to my most favorite food.

My Bible reading plan for the month.

Food meal planning ideas for high/low macro days.

Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe.

Six herbs to grow inside when it’s too cold or hot out.

Corn fritters for a veggie filled weeknight dinner.

And, I’m not shopping the Nordstrom sale until next week, but if there is anything left, I’m picking up these sneakers, this tank, and these pants.

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Teppan Edo

Based on what I had read before visiting Teppan Edo, your chef can make or break this experience. And our chef definitely made the experience of this restaurant. That and the Yum-Yum sauce, ha! Our chef was funny, personable, and did a great job portioning out the meal without onions for B.


To give a little background, Teppan Edo is a hibachi grill-style restaurant in the Japan pavilion of Epcot. Situated upstairs from the enormous Japan store, Mitsukoshi, Teppan Edo features both a section serving sushi, and then another section for the hibachi grills. Like most restaurants of this kind, unless you have a party of eight or more, you will most likely be seated with another family. The kids typically receive soup and a smaller meat serving (choice of chicken, steak, or shrimp). This was by far, J’s favorite meal of the trip. He was giggling the whole time at the chef’s jokes, and ate up everything on his plate!

Adults receive salad, and a large selection of meat offerings (I picked scallops, B picked shrimp and steak). You also receive rice and then vegetables and noodles with the meal.

Afterwards we did some shopping:

And the boys picked out two new stuffed animals that are so Kawaii:

Totoro and Ei! The boys were very excited! The Japan pavilion is one of our very favorites in Epcot, we are looking forward to the new restaurant opening this year!

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Master bedroom refresh

I was trying to find a before photo of our room and then realized this was literally the best I had:

After ten years in our house we decided that our builder grade carpet needed to go. We used our same flooring company who did our living room, and a half day later:

Bye, bye carpet and hello hardwood! I also had several other updates in mind. First up, was a memory foam rug pad:

I’d read about these rug pads here, and was sold. It makes the rug super cushy. My only regret is I should have purchased the larger size to cover more area under the rug.

I was really pleased with the rug, it matches our neutral gray theme. Here is the fully finished room:

The rug, storage ottoman (similar here), pouf, and bedspread (similar here) are all Target finds. The bed frame and my nightstand are Ethan Allen, that I’ve had since college. As you can see, the rug pad makes the rug dip a bit, so I’ve got to fix that eventually. I’m probably just going to buy a second one and connect it to the first.

And here is the view from the other side:


One of my favorite new items that I incorporated into the room were these prints:

They are Sugarboo designs, and I picked them up from a local shop. The frames were Amazon finds and I was really pleased with them. They were exactly the style I wanted and very well made.

This is my favorite reading corner in the morning:

In our mostly neutral room, these peach chairs are one of my favorite pops of color. This chair (and the matching one in the opposite corner) were passed down to me from my parents after one of their furniture updates. They are Ethan Allen circa 1985, so vintage? Anyway, you can find a similar style here.

I updated a few of the other frames in the room as well. I’ve still got to update the black frame at the top right.

And lastly, we went through and edited our bookcase and added new drapes and an air purifier:

The drapes aren’t quite as light blocking as our old drapes, but considering we typically get up at 5:30 a.m. they work well enough. The air purifier was a splurge, but a must have for us with our allergies. And it does not include a filter you have to buy every three months.

Here is the bookcase after I styled it up a little more:

Everyone in our family is big on office supplies, especially pens. The little terra-cotta pot that J decorated for Mother’s Day for me is filled with a variety to grab for notes, lesson planning, etc. I also love the stack of square pictures set on a little vintage plate stand. You can make these through companies like Chatbooks and they are fun to change out and I love including older pictures and new. Last things are a globe from Anthropologie, a wooden turtle that I got when I lived overseas as a kiddo, and a little potted plant.

And that’s it! I was really pleased with how it turned out and the room feels brighter and cleaner, too!

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