Friday Favorites


First day of school uploading…in 3, 2, 1.

A take on basic black work pants.

Dirt free house plants.

Marinated white beans, also known as I’m at that point of summer cooking.

If it’s good enough for Blake Lively, well then count me in!

Summer work outfits. Especially helpful since summer here can last until November.

I don’t know who made this, but I would definitely read it:

J and I are headed to go see Christopher Robin this weekend, and I’m pretty sure we’re bringing Eeyore:

And that’s it for the weekend! I’ve got two school supply bags ready to take to meet the teacher, lunchboxes ready to go, and first day of school outfits! Now if someone could please tell me how I have a fourth grader and a first grader that’d be great.

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Trying something new at Disney

For our past two Disney trips, we’ve always started with Disney Springs. ALWAYS. Part of it was because we were staying at the French Quarter and it was a quick boat ride away. Part of it was because I wanted to do some shopping before the boys got Disneyed out at the end of the week. And both times, we found that the boys wanted to buy all the souvenirs before we had even hit a park. And then at the parks they’d see more souvenirs that they’d want to buy, leading to whining, pouting, and complaining. Also, occasionally tears. Some may have been mine. Ha!

As we were planning our Disney trip this year, I told B, you know, I don’t know if I want to go to Disney Springs. At all. I’ll pause while you get over your shock. Now, if you’ve never been to Disney World or if it’s been awhile, I highly recommend Disney Springs. They have awesome restaurants, fabulous shopping, etc. However, for us I felt like we needed a change. So our plan to deal with the souvenir issue has been two-fold. First, I’m getting the boys each a Disney Gift Card for their souvenirs. It’s something tangible that once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Second, instead of heading straight to Disney Springs when we get there, we are going to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. B and I stayed there on our honeymoon about thirteen years ago and every time we go to Disney we talk about going back to Animal Kingdom Lodge to visit. And if you’re thinking, what can you do at a hotel all day…check out Disney Food Blog’s post on Animal Kingdom Lodge. There are great restaurants, play areas, plenty of kid activities, and lots of animal viewing spots. It’s something that the kids will be excited about without having the urge to buy, buy, buy right away. It’ll also be cooler, as Disney Springs has large areas with no shade if you aren’t in a store.

We’re looking forward to trying this out! I’ll be sure to share our experience when we return!

 

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Salmon with herbed butter

Is this the easiest meal you’ll make all week? Yes. Unless you’re eating out all week. Then, no. Two salmon fillets, a quick herbed butter, and lemon slices, all cooked in the oven for about twenty minutes. And you’re done. Purchase frozen brown rice from Whole Foods, and have dinner on the table in under thirty minutes.

Ingredients

2 salmon fillets (mine were defrosted ones that were originally frozen from Costco)

Herbed butter (see below)

One large lemon

Directions

Place salmon on nonstick foil, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Dot with herbed butter:

Layer lemon slices on top:

Cover tightly with foil:

And bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until done.

Herbed Butter Recipe

Combine 4 tbs softened butter with three tablespoons fresh rosemary, the zest of one lemon, and salt and pepper to taste.

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Friday Favorites

In which we are soaking up the last bits of summer with chips by the pool.

Out my shoes and in my feelings.

Slow cooker cowboy beans.

Classically French.

Passing down bangles is such a lovely tradition!

Korean short ribs, yes please!

I’m knee deep in nonverbal lesson planning and then I found this: “Southern women can say more with a cut of their eyes than a whole debate club’s worth of speeches.”

Yoga goals.

A raft of otters.

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Ladybug craft

I have to share this cute craft and story idea that J came up with for my niece. He decided to make ladybug paper plates and worked very hard on an example. My personal favorite part was the hidden smiley face on the underside of the paper plate! I really think J is going to end up being an imagineer at Disney or Pixar. He starts about every other sentence with “hey mommy, what do you think if….” and then he’ll end it with something like “if butterflies had wheels so they could both drive and fly.” And that will follow with a ten minute discussion of how he could actually make that happen. To support or paper plate ladybugs we watched The Grouchy Ladybug:

And a quick video on how ladybugs fold their wings:

And a lengthier one that they started getting bored about why ladybugs are called ladybugs:

And then we made our paper plate ladybugs:

 

 

 

All you need is two paper plates per kid, some construction paper, glue, scissors, and crayons. You just put the wings in between the plates and glue the plates together. Then color one side like the ladybug, and the inside is the ladybugs hidden face! So fun! If you want even more craft ideas for ladybugs, the boys and I did a ladybug activity day three years ago. You can find it here! Happy ladybug learning!

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Salmon cakes with tomato risotto

One of my favorite summer meals, you can pull this together in about forty minutes! Don’t be discouraged by the prospect of making risotto. I stared making risotto for B and I about thirteen years ago, and now I have the recipe memorized, and can make it without even really thinking about it!

Ingredients for Salmon Cakes

2-3 5 oz cans of wild caught, boneless, skinless salmon

2 eggs

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tbs lemon zest

1 tbs lemon juice

pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Mix all ingredients. Form into equal size cakes (about the size of your palm), and then fry in 2 tbs of canola oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side (until golden brown). Transfer to paper towel lined plates to cool for a few minutes

Ingredients & Directions for Risotto

I always use this recipe for risotto and then add my own touches, this time I didn’t use prosciutto or asparagus and instead used fresh sliced grape tomatoes, Chardonnay, 1 tbs of lemon zest and 2 tbs lemon juice.

To plate

Place salmon cakes on top of risotto and drizzle with balsamic glaze (I use Trader Joe’s brand) and fresh ribbons of basil. Enjoy!

 

 

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If you have two days in San Antonio…part 2

Knowing how hot San Antonio is in July, I started looking for some indoor options for our second day. We did one indoor and one outdoor activity and in retrospect we should have swapped the times, but the kids did great (just kidding, two of them complained a lot, one complained only slightly, one did not complain, and one did great…except for trying to run off a few times. I’ll let you figure out who’s who. That’s real life, friends). Anyway, our indoor activity was the Natural Bridge Caverns. There are actually two different tours you can take here (both 75 minutes each). We opted for the Discovery Tour where they do not turn out all the lights. We had about thirty minutes before the tour started, so we let the kids do the maze that they have.

Once we got started on the tour I realized I should’ve brought water, blah. We mooched off my sister’s family to keep J from complaining the whole time. This would have been a great place to have their camelback water backpacks. The tour is not super strenuous, but it is a bit of a hike to get out once you get in there. The kids liked the jellyfish formations, the bat nest markings, and the different cave formations the look like pancakes and eggs.

 

 

Afterward we grabbed some lunch at the snack shop:

And then headed to the zoo! If you go to the San Antonio Zoo after 1 or 2 p.m. they discount the tickets, so that was a nice bonus. Now, I know what you may be saying. If you’ve seen one zoo, haven’t you really seen it all? And yes, most zoos have similar animals there. However, depending on the zoo you’ll get a different experience seeing the animals and learn different things, which is why the kids love going. For example, we saw hippos underwater up close:

And J got to be face to face with a wild dog. You could pretty much consider his trip made by that point. He was so excited!

He really wanted to get in there with the wild dogs, especially when one came right up to the glass:

And they had an interactive dinosaur exhibit when we went:

Afterwards we headed back to the hotel and took showers because it was approximately one million degrees when we left the zoo. We then headed out to an Italian restaurant on the Riverwalk.

The boys got their full helpings of spaghetti, so they were quite excited.

And then the next morning we woke up super early and headed for home!

 

A few other restaurants and places to check out if you’re in San Antonio…

Children’s Museum

Lulu’s bakery and cafe

Mi Tierra Cafe

Gristmill river restaurant and bar

Texas Pride BBQ

The Magnolia Pancake Hauss 

Hot Joy restaurant 

And that’s it! Our Texas road trip (after a fifteen hour drive back) was done!

To see the other parts of our road trip, check out Waco, Austin, and San Antonio Part I.

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Friday Favorites

We are T-minus two weeks to school starting, how?! We are soaking up the last of summer vacation by sleeping in, watching Chopped past bedtime, and enjoying lots of outside play time when the temperature is decent. And when it’s boiling hot outside, we’re pulling out all the Legos, GI Joe’s, and Imaginext. And playing! Before school, schedules, sports, and scouts all start up again.

Summer and fall looks. I love the pop of red in the jacket and the crisscross back of the dress.

A new chapter book series for J.

Simple tips for creating next level eyeliner.

The case for eating well before bedtime. And that means eating a long time before bedtime, not eating good things, but eating good things is fine, as well. You can still have snacks, though….so, winning!

Perfect summer chopped salad, recommended by my sister!

The dress in my Gap shopping cart.

Because I love Leslie and Ron.

The cutest game of fetch, ever.

And finally, gel manicures are my go to for trips.

 

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If you have two days in San Antonio…part 1

We arrived in San Antonio right at dinner time. We stayed at the Marriott Riverwalk (with a river walk view room) and I would highly recommend it. Although there are lots of other quality hotels in the area, you get a great view of the riverwalk, there’s a Starbuck’s in the hotel, and it is walkable to lots of the main San Antonio attractions (like The Alamo). We checked in and then headed to Casa Rio for dinner…

I got the green chile chicken enchiladas (which I forgot to take a picture of), and they were excellent. The boys got nachos and tacos. The margaritas were also excellent!

One of my favorite things about our hotel besides the view:

Was the fold out couch. We usually have a room with two doubles or queens, but it saves us many an argument for the boys to be in separate beds…

 

The next morning we enjoyed our coffee on the balcony:

Then headed to the Alamo!

I have to say we lucked out with our weather. Texas is hot (boardering on insufferable) in July, and we managed to get overcast days with slightly cooler than average temperatures. The boys loved the Alamo, and we did pretty much everything you could do, from watching the movie on Alamo history to listening to a speech on Alamo artillery.

These two were the best listeners of the whole bunch:

And you’ve got to find the House cat:

We thought it was just a stray cat, but they have stuffed animals that match it in the gift shop, so apparently it is a house cat. After we left the Alamo we went to the river walk mall to escape an incoming rain shower, had lunch at the food court, then headed back to the hotel’s activity room:

We kept it pretty low key, which was great for the kids. Some sightseeing mixed with downtime is essential for avoiding meltdowns! We headed to County Line on the Riverwalk for dinner:

Their brisket and black eyed peas and bread were delish:

Afterward we headed out on the riverboat tour of the Riverwalk, which was fun:

A enjoyed it, despite contrary tween facial expressions. The boat tour is a great way to see and hear about the history of the city. And to see buildings like this:

It looks like there is no side! A cool optical illusion, with an interesting back story (I won’t spoil it). After the boat tour we headed off to bed with a cavern and zoo in our sights!

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