dear isla.

(notes to her at summer camp)

At drop off . . .

For the first time ever, the girl is away for a whole week! And for the first time ever at summer camp! We miss her so. I have enjoyed preparing and sending her a daily note via snail mail. I hope she is having a blast (but also missing us just a little)!

P.S. – So many simple yet sweet memories have been made these last couple of months. Being “in the thick of it” is exhausting but so spectacular. I feel as if this chapter is one of the very best – so much gratitude for this life right here, right now.

double digits.

Welcome to the double digits pretty girl! We celebrated with family and then with friends at an Escape Room. Decorations were a hodgepodge of some of her current favorite things. May this year be your best one yet sweet Isla!

P.S. – A look back at her 7th Birthday and some of my forever favorites snaps of her . . .

Such a difference a few years makes!

may ‘19. some favorite random moments.

A few random tidbits and photos I want to remember about this “full of all the things” May.

We’ve almost made it through “birthday season” – whew! The last celebration is this evening. We now have a 13 year old, 10 year old and 18 month old. Reference the above photos for what a new 10 year old does while in front of a mirror.

My husband is from St. Louis and a huge sports fan! Tate’s new favorite song is now “Gloria”. If you’re a Blues fan you’ll understand. (wink, wink!)

The last day of school was yesterday. The remainder of this week will be full of rest and freedom, but I’m hoping for a bit of relaxed order to start happening next week. I’ve got a list of house projects I’d love to complete this summer!

It’s also been “peony season”. I can’t seem to keep myself from picking one or a bundle of them every time I walk past.

And the last 6 months (months 13-18) of Mr. Tate . . .

Our 13 year old, who isn’t real fond of pictures (unless there is a fish in his hand), let me get just a few. Baseball in Memphis got cancelled for the weekend of his birthday so he got to go to dinner with cousins and fishing that evening. Not exaggerating when I say fishing is his first true love!

And for a Mother’s Day photo, cooperation just wasn’t happening . . .

I have so many things that I’ve been wanting to share but first a few days of rest.

XOXO!

sweet little things. via hallmark baby.

Littlest man is now almost just a week shy of eighteen months. Ahhh, how can that be. At about six months pregnant, I stumbled upon Hallmark baby. It has since been one of my most adored places (on the web) for purchasing sweet little things for sweet little ones. See below for just a few of the clothing, nursery and gift items you can find on Hallmark baby. A random post, but definitely a noteworthy website if you’ve got little ones in your life.

(all items and so many other sweet little things can be found on Hallmark baby)

waffle omelets. plus orange honey butter and two favorite netflix documentaries.

We eat our fair share of eggs in this house and most of the time we prefer them scrambled (because of ease), unless we are making sandwiches. I needed something quick for dinner the other night and was leaning towards doing something “breakfasty” but was looking for something more than just starches and scrambled eggs sounded a little “blah”. I then remembered the booklet that came with my daughter’s waffle maker suggested an omelet waffle. Definitely easy enough. And such a great way to put to use some of the leftover veggies and cheese in the fridge.

The only items you really need are a waffle maker and eggs. I used this four inch waffle maker. One egg is needed per waffle. For our dinner waffles, I mixed in a variety of chopped peppers, cooked turkey sausage, and cheese. And for lunch the other day, with the egg, I mixed in chopped peppers, leftover baked chopped cauliflower, mushrooms, and cheese. On top, I garnished with sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and a little green onion (would’ve preferred chives but I didn’t have any).

If you are making more than just one waffle, mix/ whisk your eggs with all of your ingredients. One four inch waffle is equal to approximately one full ice cream scoop. If you are using a larger waffle maker, I would say approximately 3 eggs or 3 scoops of your mixture would be sufficient enough.

When I made these for lunch, I also had some leftover bread from dinner the night before topped with a dab of orange honey butter. It was the best sweet and citrus “ending”. It’s also very simple to make. You need just 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice and honey and a little orange zest along with a stick of butter to make more than several servings worth.

And the prettiest little book to compliment the lunch and keep the littlest busy while I eat. 😉

And totally random – but just watched and adore this Netflix documentary. It reminded me of this one. So in love with how both have captured and document people and the “everyday”.

a visit to the Alabama coast and Easter.

This past week/ weekend we celebrated Easter and the two biggest littles spring break. For the first time since moving back to Missouri, we road tripped down to the shores of Alabama to visit family and enjoy the beautiful weather there this time of year. The gulf waters are still a little chilly but other than that the spring and fall times in southern Alabama are picture perfect (without all of the crowds and chaos of summertime).

Our favorite things this trip . . .

The beach. Of course! There are a few we frequent on our visits to Gulf Shores/ Orange Beach/ Fort Morgan areas, but there are plenty of public and private beaches to choose from. The beach is always a favorite for me, but this visit was especially fun for Tate. The never ending sandbox was like a little piece of his heaven.

The Pier and fishing. Always so full of life, creatures, and learning. Our oldest became fishing obsessed when we lived in the south and if you have the right equipment The Pier is such a wonderful place to do so. From high above the gulf, we often spot small sharks swimming in the waters below.

Bike riding on the trails of Gulf State Park. You could easily ride all day and not pass over the same spot twice. This is such an enjoyable and active way to take in all of the additional beauty (other than the beach) that this part of the southern coast has to offer. We stopped for lunch here. I highly recommend the brussels sprouts and mac n’ cheese 🙂 but everything was really delicious and fresh.

Shopping.

Eating. This visit, we ate at Lulu’s. The kids love it because of the large sandbox/ play area. It can get a little crazy during the summer season but this time of year the wait was nil. And if you like cold (abundantly) sweet treats, The Yard is worth at least one visit.

The road trip. Perhaps my favorite part! Having all of my people together for a long period of time yes, almost too crazy to be bearable at times. But the BEST! Even during that late at night six hour stretch of no civilization in Mississippi.

Easter Sunday. Although not our traditional Easter, we love visiting the church in Foley. And the weather was really breathtakingly beautiful! So much so, that we spent Easter afternoon at the beach.

Early A.M. swims. Throwing on a bathing suit and hitting the pool first thing in the morning.

A few of our other favorite things to do while in the Gulf Shores area are . . .

  • The National Naval Aviation Museum. It’s free admission and parking. If you are able, watch one of the practices of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels!
  • The Fort Morgan historic site. A really beautiful place to explore.
  • USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. This is in Mobile, but is worth the drive if you have the time.
  • Bon Secour, Alabama. If you are up for a short drive and just want to see some local scenery, this small community is so quaint and cozy. There are also a few places nearby to purchase some fresh seafood!
  • Fairhope, Alabama. Such a quaint, beautiful and inspiring town off the coast of the Mobile Bay. Spend the afternoon shopping, eating, and admiring the beautiful homes and cottages. Also, a lovely place to ride bikes!
  • Alligator Alley.
  • Burris Market. We used to stop here on our way to the coast. They have the best pies and pecan cobbler.
  • Scoops Ice Cream.

We returned to Missouri mid week with the dogwoods in full bloom, Easter baskets, and for me, more than the usual amounts of coffee.

(after they had been rummaged through)

It’s so nice to be home. The littlest guy and I went to two estate sales yesterday and one of our purchases was a new chair for the back deck. I am hoping to do some relaxing and refreshing there this weekend. May you find your “spot” and spend as much time there this weekend as possible. Enjoy!

eggs. dipped and dyed.

2019 edition. Natural dyes.

This year, for the first time, I gave naturally dying eggs a try. I read through several tutorials and posts about the “how-tos” and compiled bits from each before beginning. Below are some of “my bits”.

What I used:

  • blueberries, red cabbage, turmeric, avocado pits, onion skins & beets. i also used spinach without much luck. *need to try chlorophyll and black beans soon (on fabric)
  • white vinegar
  • baking soda (in the red cabbage dye)
  • boiling water

The blueberries, red cabbage and turmeric worked best for me. My thoughts are some of the dyes may have worked differently or better if I would have let the foods simmer longer and/ or if I would have added more foods into the water. I’d tell you a more specific recipe, but I really didn’t use one. 🙂

Thoughts:

  • At first I was sure my experimenting had failed, a few eggs didn’t take any of the color at all while others took on shades different than what I expected. However, when I saw the end result and all of the eggs together “perfectly imperfect” came to mind. Each egg was unique – no two were the same color. The muted tones and unusual hues were unexpected but beautiful.

  • Patience. Have some. Don’t expect to dip, dye, and have all of your eggs beautifully displayed together in one afternoon. I got impatient (or I just needed the pots I was using) at about 24 hours and just went with the colors I had at that point. However, some were done after just a few hours.
  • I really enjoyed and appreciated the whole process. It took some effort, but I am already looking forward to using natural dyes again.

  • Experiment with both white and brown eggs.
  • Eggs will appear brighter in color when wet. The tones become more muted as they dry.

  • Use multiple dyes to get one color. For example, a few I let bathe in the blueberry for awhile and then transferred them to the cabbage.
  • I added baking soda to the cabbage to give it a more bluish hue vs. purple.
  • My oldest two, even though they didn’t act interested at first, were intrigued by the fact the foods can be used as dyes. My littlest, can now say the word “egg” with ease.
  • I also dyed a piece of fabric in the cabbage. After washing and drying, it turned out a really light blue. I am really looking forward to dying more fabric.

Happy Easter week! This is perhaps my most favorite week of the year – the weather, the beautiful colors (inside and out), cute baskets everywhere!, Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Easter Sunday, the attire, the sound of birdsong, the smell of fresh cut grass, flower planting, the celebration . . .

(eggs, dipped & dyed – 2016 edition)