Monday, July 30, 2012

These Colors Don't Run....

Oh how I love the Olympics...let me count the ways...
  • Pride of country- USA! USA! USA!
  • Women's gymnastics. (Although Jordyn Wieber...not.even.fair.)
  • Watching random things like Archery, skeet shooting, water polo (yes, I sure did), sand volleyball...all in the name of moral support and the red, white and blue.
  • Swimming. Phelps vs. Lochte, US vs. the World...let'
  • Opening Ceremonies
  • Royals. Let's just end on this one, shall we?
At the ninth hour (Wednesday night around 7pm) Dave and I decided to invite a few friends over for the opening ceremonies. In a few hot minutes we had yeses from the peanut gallery and we decided a low-key affair was in order. Then Thursday and Pinterest hit. I decided we needed games, bracelets, medals, and maybe a few printables. *Adorable Olympic printables via Mirabelle Creations.

 I figured this was the perfect reason to try this bacon-jalapeno cheese ball from Homesick Texan. Y'all, it was delicious. I only got about 2 bites before it was G-O-N-E!

 This is the work of Bradley. She was in charge of dessert and I should have known she'd show up with Olympic torch cupcakes. Adorable! But not quite as adorable as these two little balls of fire!

Let the games begin! We had toss the tiny frisbee in the hula hoop....
When our hula hoops could stay on the ground :)

 Our gold and silver medals in this event went to Stacie and Ryan....In fact, Stacie was our leading medalist.

Then it was "Hanky Panky". Special thanks to Annalee for such a fun idea! Bradley was hard core...of course we would expect no less...
Spoiled rotten Rookie found someone to give him some lovin'....
And our final game of the evening was pin the sport on the athlete. Everyone got photos of 12 athletes and I called out the sports these athletes would be participating in. They had to put the correct sport with the correct athlete. It was hysterical! Our gold medalist got 9 out of the 12 correct!

All I know is that by the end of the night, Rookie had a medal around his neck and Avery was down for the count. I'd say it was a success!
Let's do this, USA! These Colors don't run!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Real Life Father of the Bride...

In keeping with the wedding theme my sister received her wedding video yesterday! You might remember me gushing over spilling all the details of her precious, Father-of-the-Bride-esque, fun, romantic, God honoring wedding a couple of months ago. Well, if you have 4 minutes you can get a first hand glimpse of the magic of the day.

We miss my Papa deeply and that day was no exception as his absence was palpable. Will and his team did such a beautiful job of including his memory in this video and telling the story of their precious day. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Now Join Your Hands, and With Your Hands Your Hearts ~ Romeo and Juliet

I love weddings. I'm going Velveeta here for a second...hang with me...I love watching a radiant bride walk down the aisle in great anticipation and ecstatic joy as she first sees the one her heart loves. I love watching the groom as he first lays eyes on his beautiful bride in a dress she chose just for him. Her, walking down the aisle on her father's arm only to leave his arms and fall into another. (I told you it was going to be cheesy, but it's so true!)

As a guest I sit there watching it all unfold and then I find so much joy hearing the vows while holding hands with my husband whom I shared those same vows with 5.5 years ago. It's a kind of renewing of our vows every time we get to sit through another ceremony in the presence of God. I just love it. And after the ceremony is over, the vows are said, the rings are exchange and the sometimes awkward but always magical kiss is had....It's time for cake! And dancing, and more cake, and toasts followed by more dancing.

This weekend we had the privilege of participating in all of the aforementioned festivities as we celebrated Megan and Adam. Megan is my sister, Kristen's best friend. They were best buddies growing up, they have been through thick and thin, New York to Dallas, and they have been roommates...close as sisters for the last 3 years. They have been witness as each found their love and have now gotten married.

Zsa Zsa and Big Daddy cuttin' a rug!
It was a wonderful celebration and could not have been more fun! On behalf of our entire family...
Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Portacci! We love you very much.

*Because I'm a moron, my camera battery was dead! Sadly, I only had my phone to take photos with. Everything was even more beautiful than these photos give credit for.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Soup Du Jour...

It's mid July, it's averaging 100 degrees across the country, kids smell of sunscreen and chlorine, yet Hobby Lobby has Christmas decorations out. Let's embrace it and make soup, shall we? Soup knows no season in our house. Not interested? Just pin now and make it in October. You'll be glad you did!

My friend, Liz (yes, she's a great writer and no, she hasn't written since November and yes, it's unacceptable), made this one night when we invaded her house for girls' night and it has been a staple in my kitchen since. It's a legit Italian wedding soup recipe passed down from her Italian friend. It's authentic, y'all! You won't be sorry.

Italian Wedding Soup

Meatball Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
3 oz breadcrumbs
½ c Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp kosher salt

Soup Ingredients:
100 ozs chicken broth
2 bags baby spinach (which is about 8 cups)
½ tsp crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp garlic, minced (if desired)
5 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

Additional Ingredients:

Acini Di Pepe noodles
*My store only carries this brand


Mix all meatball ingredients by hand (side note: this completely grosses me out. Raw meat makes my skin crawl. But I do it for this soup.) until fully combined. In a large stockpot, heat 2-3 Tbsp olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pot) and add small meatballs. Meatballs should be small enough that you can roll two at a time… about the diameter of a quarter. Gently stir as you add to ensure they don’t burn. Cook until all meatballs are browned. Add crushed red pepper and additional garlic. Add chicken broth and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes – stirring occasionally. Add spinach and cook for 25 minutes, or until spinach is very tender. Stir in cheese and season with salt if needed.
*When you add in the spinach you can begin to cook the Acini Di Pepe noodles. They take about 10 minutes.

The finished product is delicious and hearty. I often serve it with warm french bread or ciabatta bread which is wonderful for dipping. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fabulous Finds- Hostess Gift Edition...

I was created for relationships. I am not one of those "alone time" people. Don't get me wrong, every once in a while I hit a wall and crave "down time"/ "alone time". It's always wonderful, relaxing, refreshing...and after that Friends Episode is over I'm ready to be with my peeps! I just love being with people.

I am so blessed to live in the same town as some of my very best friends so we rarely skip a chance to grill burgers together or meet for a glass of vino so they can escape their knee-high obligations. We come into each others homes without knocking, we know where the cups and plates are, and certainly where the wine glasses are kept. With the frequency and casualty of our visits I don't always arrive with a legitimate gift in hand. Most of the time I do arrive with chips and salsa, creamy jalapeno dip, brownies, wine...some sort of treasure. However, I do not underestimate the value of a great hostess gift when it's called for.

While a bottle of wine or chips and salsa are always appreciated sometimes an unexpected or out of the box gift is the perfect treasure for those opening their home. Here are a few of my current favorites:

May Books! Y'all, I am SO excited to tell you about these books if you haven't seen them, oh, on GOOD MORNING AMERICA! I went to college with Mica and we ran around in the woods chasing teenagers while working at summer camp together. She has created these darling books that you can use as a journal, a planner, meal planner, grocery name it, there is a function for it. They are completely customizable, completely darling and completely affordable! And get this...they are in People's Style Watch this month! Are you kidding me?? Most of the books you create will fall in the $17-$25 range.

I played a little bit last night and created a few books I would be so thrilled to have. You can get a blank notebook, lined pages, or you can get a calendar...the world is your oyster. :)
How about a set of aqua coasters? At $9.99, yes, please! The moustache pics...I know! $4.95, also at Z Gallerie. I have many a friend who would get a kick out of these.

I absolutely love Anthropologie for gifts. I can run in and run out in 10 minutes and have something wonderful to gift someone. Birthday, hostess, thank you, just because...Mom, sister, friend, mother in law, perfect stranger...It never fails to produce. That being said...
Run, don't walk to Anthropologie right this minute and get 1 (or 5) sets of these cheese knives. They're on sale for $14.95 and would make the perfect hostess gift!
 Another anthro find- they have these adorable herb pots in various shapes and sizes. They range in price but the pot on the left is $16 and the pot on the right is $8!! Grab a pot, run in Lowe's and get a $2.00 succulent/pansy/daisy and you've got yourself a darn cute gift.
Candles. You can never, ever go wrong with a candle in my opinion. I burn them all the time, I think they are so romantic, and sometimes it is hard to splurge on a candle for yourself. So when you receive one as a gift it's a double bonus! I know I have featured these before but the Capri Blue candles in mercury glass are my absolute favorite. They are $28 at Anthro. However, there are a ton of delicious candles and there is not a trip to Anthro where I don't skim through the sale room! Candles, lotions, hand soap, little trinkets...ranging in price from $5-$20. I stock up whenever I can so I always have small gifts on hand.
Last but not least, a great set of dishtowels. I just adore the bright and cheerful napkins and dishtowels below. Give someone a gift they can use over and over again. After a wonderful evening, stay and have a chat while helping them do the dishes. :)
Happy giving!