Friday, August 29, 2014

Foggy Nights

Took these pictures at my parents house in Northern Minnesota.  They were about 20 degrees colder than our house.  It was awesome.




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Latte Is Back

Starbucks brought back the Pumpkin Spice Latte early this year.  Like this past Monday.

The catch is you have to go online and complete some sort of treasure hunt and then you get to buy it before the general population on September 2nd, which is it's actual release date.

To be totally honest, pumpkin spice coffee does not sound all that good to me, and I am staunch about when fall things should be available.  And there is no way I would buy it before September 1st.

And to be even more honest, I have never tried Starbucks pumpkin spice.  I feel like I may have tried a different kind, but I can't quite remember, so apparently it must not have made that much of an impression.

I did find this awesome diy version which I will probably give a go since I don't live close to a Starbucks, and I am fairly cheap.  It looks yummy.

She also got super ambitious and made marshmallows, but that is probably not happening at our house.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chambray Shirt (And Why I've Fought It)

Chambray shirts are all the rage.  And I have not jumped on the bandwagon.  Mostly because as a child of the 80's and 90's, I associate Chambray with things like this.


But then I started seeing all these cute Chambray options in my pinterest feed, and I am starting to be convinced that if one is careful it can look amazing.

Summer outfit // uh...I might need to start exercising if I ever want to wear shorts again. And get a tan.    Love: chambray shirt, red sweater, skinny jeans, leopard flats and pearls   fall outfit. black leggings, denim tunic, scarf, white chunky sweater, brown knee high boots  Not sure if I'm going to survive more than one fall/winter in College Station. It's too hot here... all the time.

Grandpa-inspired outfit: Chambray button-down, white jeans, easy sandals, wrap bracelet, pendant necklace   Guess what!?!? This is OLD NAVY!! Yes, I said OLD NAVY! It has the jcrew look for a lot cheaper!

And here is a link to a bunch of different ways to style it if you need more than these pictures.

Friday, August 22, 2014

House Missing, Jam and Raising Quail

We've been away for almost two weeks, and my kids are starting to miss their home.  A lot.
- Mrs. Hughes #Downton  I come from #thebestfamilyever  #TeamAtherton
(Except our house isn't the Downton Abbey home like the silhouette on this one.)

Kembia told me she misses her kitchen, her living room, and her toys.  I am assuming she doesn't miss her room because she shares with Truitt...

First thing on my list besides unpacking, something which I hate more than laundry, is purging my entire house of all the excess stuff in it.  There are several reasons for that, of which I won't go into details, but I am excited to do it.

And if any of you have the urge to purge, here is an excellent, quick article on what not to do while trying to declutter.   


I finally finished Middlemarch.  For the most part I thought it was boring and I had to force myself to finish it.  The reviews are excellent, and in general I love the classics.  But it took me a long time to get it done.  I might watch the movie and see if that makes me feel better about it.  But probably not because movies are always worse than the books.


I bought a crate of peaches and infested my parents' house with fruit flies, but I made three peach pies and lots and lots of peach jam using this recipe.

After our strawberry jam, pluot jam, and now peach jam, we have jam coming out of our ears. More than enough to last us until next years fruit season kicks off.


My brother hatched a bunch of quail babies, and so now I think we might raise some for awhile.

Quail - we have a whole quail family that lives right by us - the mama & papa bird always train their fledglings to fly off our back hedge every year :)   

    quail egg vs. chicken egg

They are super tiny, reach maturity in 8 weeks, and their adorable eggs take 5 to equal 1 chicken egg.

Why are we doing this?  Mostly because I think it's good to give our kids a country upbringing as much as possible where we live in suburbia.  And we'll eat the eggs after we acquire enough for a meal.  And for us, that will take a few quail and a lot of days!


And I finally am making time to finish Downton Abbey Season 4.  I've been watching the episodes at my parents after the kids have gone to bed.  Apparently there was quite a scandal in the last week with a water bottle accidentally being left in a promotional picture for next season.  According to this article, they have forbidden anything modern, including underwear.

I googled and found this article on the history of women's underwear.  Apparently, in the early 1900's in England, underwear were open and it was kind of a slip-like clothing that you wore underneath everything else.  So no visible pany lines allowed for the Downton actors!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

French Press Coffee

I've been tempted by the Keuring for the last year or so.

The price has dropped and the kids and I are staying at my parents when Chris and Ava are in the boundary waters, and they have one, plus they are on sale this week at Target for $109 plus a $20 gift card.

But then I saw this post on House Tweaking this morning and read the comments, and now I am heavily leaning towards a french press.

I don't really know how to use it, but I found this post on how to use a french press, so I might give it a whirl.

Does anyone use a french press that can give me advice?  Also, what type of coffee beans do you use?

Monday, August 18, 2014

New Couch?

I made white clipcovers for our couches a few years ago, three maybe, I can't remember....
After several years, 5 kids, and a Great Dane who can literally sit on them, they are looking pretty ragged, and bleaching them just isn't working anymore.

So I am thinking blue.

navy blue couch, black and white tripes, carpet tiles, wall of art, abstract     Tour A Small Apartment Brimming with Chic DIY Style//blue velvet sofa, furry stools, DIY art

Or maybe green...

Frame arrangement and colors on white wall // living         Amanda Holstein's San Francisco Home Tour #theeverygirl

It's the kind of project that is futzy, and I don't really like.  I may just wuss out and use dropcloths and make another slipcover that way.  It would be a lot cheaper fabric wise.  Plus I am not sure how Chris would feel about blue or green couches.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Classy Rainboots

Ireland is super far away, but I have been checking out all the things I need to get for my trip.  And if you google Ireland weather at all you know you need rainboots and an umbrella.

It's a whole lot of fun to look at rainboots, and while a part of me wants these crazy red ones, the practical side says they wouldn't match with much of my wardrobe.

Also my wallet can't afford $150 rain boots, lovely though they are.

I did find two pairs by Kamik for about $65 on Zappos.

              Kamik Jennifer                             Kamik Ellie

I couldn't decide which one I like better, the Kamik Jennifer with the matte finish and the cool looking coat-of-arms-type thing on the side, or the shiny Kamik Ellie.  So I ordered both because Zappos has free shipping both ways.

After getting them in the mail, the Kamik Jennifer is by far the better boot.  It goes up higher, the matte looks better, and the little emblem is awesome.  The shiny Kamik Ellie was so tight around my calves, there is no way I could have worn them over any type of pants.  My calf measures at 15 inches, so maybe that can help you if you really want a shiny boot.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nancy Pelosi Thinks Africa Is A Country


House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, tweeted this last week:

Here is the link for the screen shot if you want.

I can't even handle this people.  You would think that someone who was the former Speaker of the House would know that Africa isn't a country.  Palm slap to forehead.

No wonder this country is headed down the drain.

Friday, August 8, 2014

What Our Homeschool Looks Like

Why yes, those are ear muffs on their heads.  The better to block out the nose from their annoying three younger siblings!  

This is how my kids do homeschool- at the kitchen table with ear muffs on.  They take them off for any instructions but put them on whenever they feel the background noise is too much.  Which if fairly often.

Their first break is coming up soon too.  Next week will be school week 6 followed by vacation week 1.  They are pretty excited.  Especially Ava who is going to Canada with Chris for a father/daughter camping trip.  The rest of us will go to the grandparents house.

And then just for fun since Owen and I are going through the 8 million word exceptions.
i before e... HAHAHA! #Homeschool @IEW @TheHomeScholar

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


There's a question mark because it's not 100% sure, but pretty darn close.

I am totally ashamed that I didn't know quite where it was.  Good thing we are doing world geography this year!  So, if you were like me, know you now where it is!

This is Kylemore Abbey.  I almost cannot handle myself that we will be going there.

Blarney Castle, where we will kiss the Blarney Stone.  Apparently it's just something that everyone does....

Seriously, I can barely contain myself.  In fact, I am pretty convinced without even seeing it yet that we need to move there!

Three girlfriends and I would be going next April 2015.  One has a wedding to attend and didn't want to travel internationally alone, and the rest of us just sort of fell into it.  It seems so very far away and I have literally already spent hours researching and looking at pictures like the ones above.

Also, they drive cars on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car.  And almost every car is a manual, which thankfully I can drive.  And it sounds like I will be because no one else really wants to!

Has anyone been?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Farmer Boy: Almanzo's donuts and apples n' onions

We're reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder with the two oldest.  Remember it?

It's been years since I've read it and we are really enjoying it.  Owen is especially loving all the food they eat at every meal.  We usually read right before bed and he keeps talking about how hungry it makes him.

Almanzo's favorite thing to eat is fried apples n' onions, and he eats lots of donuts, so on Saturday we decided to recreate an Almonzo meal.

We found the following recipe after a lot of searching on the internet.


1 c. milk
1 c. sugar
2 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs, beaten
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
confectioners sugar
3 1/2 c. sifted flour
Oil for deep frying
In a bowl combine sugar and butter. Add eggs and blend. Add milk. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add liquid mixture to flour mixture gradually, beating vigorously. Knead lightly on a floured work surface. Add a small amount of flour, if needed to keep dough from sticking.
Roll out to 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Use a doughnut cutter to cut dough. Fry in deep hot oil, maintaining a 370°F temperature.
When doughnuts rise to top turn only once. Drain doughnuts on absorbent paper. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

It was a lot like eating Indian Fry bread if you've ever eaten that. Basically, it's amazing.  At first I tried to make rope donuts but it was taking too long, so I pretty much just made little snakes out of the dough and they fried up nice.

Apples and onions was basically cutting up and frying onions and apples in butter.  We found a couple of recipes that called for brown sugar, but it was so tasty that we didn't even use the sugar.

Give the book and the recipes a try- you'll love it.

Friday, August 1, 2014

How to be a bad parent

I am fighting a serious case of VBS tiredness.  So I give you an instructional video on how to be a bad parent.  Cause it's funny.