Sweet Summertime

Dear Summer,

I love you, I really do.

However I usually long for fall and cooler temperatures as you insult us during these long hot southern summer months.

 This year however, I am singing a different tune.

Where are you going?

My firstborn will be in FIRST grade in a month.


What?  No one is ready for that.

Wasn't it just early June?  How is it mid July?

A dear friend just recently mentioned that these are the longest days but shortest years of our lives.

Wow that saying has stuck.   I think I tell myself that nearly every day since she first shared it with me.

 The longest days and shortest years.

Well, Summer, your days are long but my time with you is short.

I hope this next month of you doesn't slide out from under me like the first one did.

You're treating us quite nicely and we love you for it.



Kingsway House Updates

I thought I would share a few progress photos of my current favorite project.  Slowly but surely this house is moving along, and everything is starting to come together.  I absolutely love being involved in a project from beginning to end, but it rarely happens this way.  One day, when I have more time to dedicate to my job {right now my time is my kids/family first and foremost!}, I hope to work on more full-scale projects like this.  Enjoy!



{sorry for the grainy/odd sized pics - all phone pics! such is life}


RECIPE :: Browned Butter Nutella Bite Blondies

Oh yes it is.

I would apologize for giving you two food posts in a row, but I'm not.
I will, however, say "you're welcome"!! :)

Browned Butter Nutella Bite Blondies

1 cup {or so} Nutella
10 T butter {1 stick + 2 T}
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed {I used 16oz bag}
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 t vanilla
2 large eggs {or 3 backyard chicken eggs}
2 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup Nutella

1.  Line a baking sheet with wax paper and make a little room in your freezer.  Make 12 small lumps of Nutella on the baking sheet, each about 2-3 teaspoons.  Place in freezer while preparing the rest of the batter.
2.  Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 8x11x2 {2 quart} baking dish well.
3.  Melt butter in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally until foam of butter starts to turn golden and smell nutty.  Remove from heat and pour immediately into a mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer.
4.  Stir in brown sugar and cream cheese.  Beat for about 2 minutes.
5.  Add vanilla and eggs, beat well.
6.  Add 1/4 cup of Nutella and swirl it with a spatula - enough to give the batter a swirled streaky look.  Pour into prepared dish.
7.  Remove Nutella from freezer and drop each dollop into the dough, distributing them evenly.  Press them down enough to smooth some batter on top.
8.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven.  Top should be golden brown and the edges should be very set.  If the center seems gooey and the edges seem brown take it out and let it sit.
9.  Let the bars COOL COMPLETELY.  Cut into bars and serve.  With milk.

original recipe found via Pinterest, here

{Strongly consider serving in a bowl with ice cream.  We did not and, even though these little slices of heaven do completely hold up on their own, to this day* I feel the pangs of regret.  Thankfully there will be a next time.}

* I made these yesterday.**

** They are gone.


RECIPE :: Crabmeat Pasta Salad

This is a tried and true family summer favorite.  I would gladly eat it year round, and do randomly have cravings mid-winter, but it was a staple growing up in the summer at our house.  Friends would come over late night after "driving around" in high school {remember? "going out"?? ha}, knowing my mom always had this in the fridge.  Even those a little squeamish of "seafood" still loved this pasta salad.  And it is so easy to make!


Crabmeat Pasta Salad

1 package of bowtie pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
1 lb imitation crab meat, in chunks, cut into bite sized pieces if desired
REAL mayonaise {I do NOT like mayo, this is one of my few exceptions...this and chicken salad and on scrambled egg sandwiches :)}
dried or fresh dill
chopped green onions {white and green parts}

combine all ingredients, amounts to your liking.  Add mayo, stir to combine, and see if you need more.  I do not like a ton of mayo but members of my family would strongly disagree and keep adding more! :)


Rosemary Beach 2014

We started out this summer with a bang!  This past week, the Wednesday after Memorial Day, we piled the truck up to the brim and traveled the skip hop and jump over to Rosemary Beach, FL for our first family trip.  We stayed in the most amazing little carriage house with two bedrooms in the best location: one block off the beach and a very quick bike ride or stroll to one of the four pools in Rosemary.  We are already planning our next trip, to stay in the exact same place.  {If you want any information feel free to email me: nattyroe at gmail dot com}

The kids all slept in the same room and, besides staying up a little late each night giggling and talking in their room before finally falling asleep, did wonderfully and didn't skip a beat.  Stephen and I enjoyed slow leisurely morning coffee and calm breezy afternoon happy hour out on our little balcony each day.  Emory and Jacob took naps {go Emory!} during which the rest of us rested, took turns taking Bennett to the pool, and shopped a little in town {me ;)}.

Bennett just finished swimming lessons the last week of school so he was primed and ready for the pool.  The other two, well that's a different story.  All three kids of mine happen to be quite "cautious" of the water, to say the least.  They are actually terrified.  A pretty strange conundrum when you live in a coastal city and, up until this point, had a beach house and pool at our disposal.  Not like they haven't been around water since {before} birth!  Stephen and I took turns torturing Emory and Jacob that first day in the indoor pool {thank goodness it wasn't crowded and their screams fell on few ears}.  They  both warmed up a little after awhile, but only at their own pace.

They spent much of the trip in their puddle jumpers {thank goodness - last year that was a battle in and of itself} and "swimming" on the steps, but by the last day both would come out a little deeper into the pool with us.  Bennett is also a bit cautious by nature but was a little fish - swimming/jumping/playing/never wanting to leave.  I am devastated that I did not get a single picture - real or iPhone - of him swimming.  He was in constant motion and making friends with the other kids and I guess I just didn't spend as much time right there with him TO take a picture.  *tear*

We went to the actual beach twice and the first morning there they all ran down to the surf excitedly - until it crashed and engulfed them in spray/surf.  Jacob and Emory wanted nothing more to do with those crashing waves from that point on and were perfectly fine parking themselves in the sand with their buckets.  Bennett ventured into the gulf with Stephen, half heartedly, but also ultimately preferred playing in the ankle deep water and sand.

As you can see it was rainy/overcast our entire stay.  I kept checking the radar praying the forecast would miraculously change.  It did not, but thankfully it only fully rained the first day and the other two days we were able to pretend like it was sunny.  It was actually nice not having to worry too much about getting too much sun.  We visited the beach briefly our last morning and they all were a little braver and more adventurous that morning. {aren't they always that way on the last day?}


She kept pushing herself closer and closer to the waves, wanting them to touch her feet.
Again, at her own sweet slow pace :)



...and 3...
He was soaked.  It was SO funny ;)

Rosemary really is such a kid friendly place/pace.  Not to mention it's easy on the eyes for the mommas and the daddies {who appreciate that kind of thing ;)}.  We rode our bikes everywhere - to dinner, ice cream, sight seeing, to the pool{s}, donuts in the morning, and the beach in the evening.  Since it rained/was cloudy the entire trip, we did venture out in the truck a few times to "kill time" - the first night we stopped by The Red Bar in Grayton, which was cute and loud and good for kids.  There are only about five things on the menu but they all sounded amazing and my grouper was phenomenal.  We also drove over to Local Catch, which I had completely forgotten a high school friend owned, and also had a wonderfully kid friendly meal - not to mention delicious. {Get the nachos!!!! Oh my...}

A few other notables were The Donut Truck in Alys Beach {short bike ride away}, Summer Kitchen Cafe {easy lunch after swimming in the indoor swimming pool the first rainy day}, and Cowgirl Kitchen {fun panoramic lunch outside one day, take out pizza the last night}.

The most amazing part of the trip was just being a family of five, uninterrupted, for five days and four nights.  Stephen and I both realized we didn't feel the urge to "go home" like we usually do after that many days, simply because we WERE home - we were all together.
It was intoxicating.
I am so greatly blessed by these people of mine and the Great God who let me borrow them for awhile.

all materials published on this blog
© by Natalie at create.live.design, 2007-2012