Pinterest Love: 4th of July

Can you believe it's almost July?  I can't.  I wait and wait and wait for summer to get here and then...boom!...it's gone.  Well thank goodness we have a little more than half the summer left.  Here are my favorite pins for July 4th that is just a little under a week away!  Hope you enjoy.

click here to pin...super cute free printable!

click here to pin...yummy and healthy fruit pizza

click here to pin...lots of easy fun craft ideas for the 4th

click here to pin...free printable, the inspiration for my chalkboard this month


Photos of the Day: Baby Swimming

In lieu of a peanut butter recipe today, I decided to post some pictures of how we spent our afternoon.  Sorry, folks, it's just too darn beautiful to be in the kitchen!  Hope you enjoy them...I know my mom will. 

or no hat?
he just learned how to splash and he loves it!


Baby Shower for Baby Girl Hughes

I blink and a week goes by.  Seriously.  

I have been meaning to post about the baby shower I helped host for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Hillary and John.  They are having a sweet baby girl in August, and Kevin, Luke, and I (along with a whole bunch of other people) can't wait to meet her!  

Kevin and I hosted the 'couples shower' at our home, with the help of some wonderful ladies.  We decided to keep it simple and do a brunch complete with a bagel bar, fruit, veggies, smoked salmon, donut holes, mini quiche, mimosas, and, of course, cupcakes!  I say simple because most of these things needed little to no preparation, which made the shower that much more fun!  

We used fresh flowers (thank goodness the peonies were in bloom!) in mason jars to decorate and also included a diaper wreath and rubber boot centerpiece to make it a little more 'baby showerish'.  Hillary is such a cute, trendy chic and is going with a chevron theme in Baby Hughes room.  I purchased  some great templates at mbradleydesigns and Michelle was fantastic to work with!  There were so many templates...an invitation, signs, water bottle covers, pretty much everything you could possibly think of!  Kevin was a sport and drew out a chevron pattern for the chalkboard that turned out great.  We also had a 'wishing tree' where guests could leave a 'wish' for Baby Hughes (didn't get a picture, oops!).  I was so excited that so many people participated!  Guests were also invited to predict the date Baby Hughes would arrive, along with her weight and length.  This was fun and everyone got into it.  It was a wonderful morning and I'm so glad it turned out to be a beautiful day.  Now, all we need is that baby!!

picture of mr. and mrs. hughes

kevin was the first to write on the chart

kevin's mom made this centerpiece

diaper wreath...super easy

grandpa gary joining in the fun!

luke might have stolen the show a few times; just like baby hughes will very, very soon

forristall family

turner family

all the ladies that helped host with the mommy-to-be...thank you ladies!!!


Brownie Topped Peanut Butter Bars

I'm back.  It has been a crazy, fun summer so far and I have missed trying peanut butter recipes.  (It hasn't been a terrible thing, I think I lost a few pounds not eating peanut butter and chocolate on a weekly basis.)  Are these bars or brownies?  Well, folks, I think they're both.  These brownies/bars are rich, scrumptious, thick, and yummy.  I found the recipe over at life made simple, but I tweaked the recipe a little to make it a teensy bit easier.  I cheated and used a boxed dark chocolate brownie mix.  Still good and lots easier, try them.

Brownie Topped Peanut Butter Bars

Brownie mix (and ingredients called for on the box)
1 stick butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup peanut butter chips

1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with Pam.  
2. Mix brownie mix together and set aside.
3.  Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugar using a mixer.  Add in one egg at a time. 
4.  Mix in baking powder, salt, vanilla.  Slowly add in flour until just combined.  
5.  Fold in 1/2 cup peanut butter chips.
6.  Spread peanut butter batter into pan.  Top with brownie batter.  Sprinkle extra chips on top.
7.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until done and not jiggly.
8.  Let cool for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and let cool 15 more minutes before cutting.

6 month schedule

Luke is about 7 1/2 months old and I am just now posting his 6 month schedule.  Ridiculous, but that is how summer goes!  It has been crazy, but in a good way.  Hope your babies are happy and the sun is shining where you are!

7:15 a.m. Wake up

7:20 a.m. Nurse

8:30 a.m. Breakfast: usually cereal, a half scoop of formula, and fruit (banana, pear, apple, etc.)

9:45-11:30 a.m. Nap

11:05 a.m. Nurse

12:30 p.m. Lunch: one vegetable and two fruits

1:45-3:30 p.m. Nap

3:35 p.m. Nurse

5:30 p.m. Dinner: one vegetable and two fruits

6:15 p.m. Bottle

6:50 p.m. Nighttime routine

7:00 p.m. Bottle

7:15 p.m. Bed

****These times are very, very approximate.  I am not an on the minute Mama.  I stick more to how many hours he has gone between naps, feedings, etc., but we do follow a pattern: eat, play, sleep.


June Cooking Club

Have you ever been in a cooking club?  Me either, until now.  My friend from our Journey Group (aka Bible Study) went to a conference where the author of the book Bread and Wine, Shauna Niequist, talked about cooking clubs.  Inspired, Annie decided to start a cooking club and I am lucky enough to be a part of it.  (Annie blogged about it here.)  Our group consists of eight ladies and we meet once a month to cook, eat, and laugh together. 

Our first cooking club happened in June and gosh, I didn't know it would be this much fun!  Our 'theme' was 'summertime/Rachael's birthday' and it was a blast!  The menu included smoked salmon, rice, fruit kabobs, stuffed mushrooms, strawberry salad, chocolate covered strawberries, angel food cake, and of course wine.  It was all delicious.  I brought the strawberry salad.  I included the recipe in this post because I am obsessed with it!  I hope you try it. 

i didn't get a good picture of the salad, but here it is!

Strawberry salad
6 cups fresh spinach
1 pint strawberries; sliced
1 avocado; diced
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds

Poppyseed Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 T honey
1 T poppyseeds

1.  Toss all ingredients into bowl and serve immediately.
2.  Whisk all ingredients for dressing in bowl and drizzle on the salad.

We sat around the table, told stories, and laughed a lot.  It was girl time at it's finest.  I am so thankful for this new 'club' and these women.  I can't wait until next month!

annie hosted this month...such a pretty table!

the ladies


Daddy's Day

I feel like Father's Day gets a little overlooked sometimes.  Dads are important, too, gosh darn it!  I hope you're getting a chance to celebrate the Dads in your life today.

My Daddy is great...he has been my coach, cheerleader, and prayer warrior.  He is my one and only Daddy and I am his Sessa.  He is the man that drilled into my head to 'use the backboard'.  The man who led me on newspaper routes at 5:00 in the morning.  The man who gives the best hugs and the man who taught me about Jesus.

Not only has he been a wonderful Dad, but he is also a fantastic Papa.  I have caught little glimpses of him with Luke.  One of those moments when life is going so fast and then it sets to slow motion for a bit so you can grab hold to one of those memories you won't forget.  I caught one of those moments last time I was home when my Dad was reading to Luke.  Luke was intensely listening to Papa Jeff and it was just sugary sweet.  I will have that memory always.  

I wish I could have spent today with him, but sometimes life pulls you in different directions.  Happy Father's Day, Dad!  Kevin says that when you come to visit you will have a Father's Day beer tasting.  I love you!

It is also Kevin's first Father's Day today.  Gosh, where to start with him.  He is the best darn Daddy and husband.  I am blessed to be able to watch him with Luke everyday.  I didn't think it was possible to love Kevin anymore than I did, but then we had Luke and that all changed.  I love him more and more everyday and I know Luke will someday be thankful that Kevin is his Daddy.  Happy Father's Day, sweetie, we love you!

Happy Father's Day to Kevin's dad, Gary!  He is a great Grandpa and Luke just lights up when he sees him.  You can tell that Luke just loves him to pieces.  We love you!

I hope all of you Dads out there are having a great day!  Thanks for working so hard and loving your kids, wives, and families!

father's day 2012

papa jeff and luke

kevin and luke

grandpa gary and luke



Kevin and I made our annual trip to Chicago last week and Luke tagged along for the fun (haha).  We were there Tuesday evening through Saturday and we enjoyed 'city life' during our stay.  It was great to be minutes away from Starbucks and Trader Joe's(along with Macy's, H&M, and a whole slew of other stores).  
Luke and I wandered around downtown Chicago during the day and were able to hang out with my friend, Shelly, and her kiddos while Kevin was at his conference.  We spent evenings together at a few events including dinner at the John Hancock building and Millennium Park.  We also were able to see and hang out with Anne, one of my very best friends from high school.  She came down to see us for an afternoon (which was so sweet!) and then we stayed with her and Pete on Friday night.  They were such great hosts, especially considering we brought Luke to their cute baby free condo.  Chicago is always a fun getaway and it was even more fun this year taking Luke on his first plane ride.  

Okay, get ready for picture overload.

luke on his first plane ride

how luke and i traveled around most of the trip; we didn't bring a stroller

luke eating at mcdonalds for the first time, poor kid had to eat peas

luke and i at navy pier

anne, luke, and i out and about...i know it's not a good picture, but it's the only one we took :(

photo shoot in the hotel room

anne and luke

last year in chicago we bought this shirt after just finding out we were having a boy...it says 'little man'

kevin and luke hanging out after his conference

at the airport ready to go home
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