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Archive for June, 2012

Yesterday my children and I donned our swimsuits, packed the cooler full of drinks and food and headed to the beach!  I originally thought that my youngest would just sit on the edge of the beach where the tiny ripples of current meet the sand, while I, well lubed with tanning oil, would lie on my towel near by trying to catch up on some reading.  As you can see from the photo above, that’s exactly how my day went and I was able to get a lot of reading done.  For about 3 minutes…maybe.

It didn’t take much watching of her older siblings splashing around and playing in the water for her to decide she was a big, brave girl this summer and that she was ready to try out her flippers.  Thus extinguishing the nice little dream I had of actually getting a chance to read.

Was I bummed?  Yes, I was (After all, as a mother of four I get very little reading in unless it’s late into the night, which could technically classify as wee morning hours, and then I’m extremely tired and zombie-ish the next day.), but as I watched the excitement on her face as she ran, foraging for fun in the sparkling water, I willing laid down my book and chased after her.

We are so busy during the school year, usually only having one, maybe two nights, a week when we have nothing going on.   Life seems so rushed, flying from one activity to the next.  Some days I feel like I haven’t seen my school aged children or husband except to hurriedly say hello and good-bye as we scurry off to the next thing on the calendar.

As I got caught up in the laughter, splashing and games being played by my children I thought, “This is what I love about summer!”

I’m not much of a summer person, I hate heat and humidity.  I would so much rather trudge 5 miles through a blizzard than walk 5 steps outdoors in the hot sticky air.  But this time that we have off from school and all of our extra curricular activities. being able to lay aside our agenda, schedules and the busy-ness of life and taking the time to just enjoy being with each other is EXQUISITE!

I say bring on the heat if it gives me more moments like the ones I’ve already enjoyed this summer…

 

*Last reminder to enter LE’s current giveaway at the bottom of this post.  The winner will be announced on Monday along with July’s theme.  Good luck!

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One Shoulder Tank – Kohl’s, Shorts – Old Navy, Heeled Sandals  & Earrings – Maurices

I bought this shirt at the end of summer last year at Kohl’s and I think this may be the 3rd, maybe 4th, time I’ve worn it.  I slightly regret buying it.  I like the shirt I just don’t seem to have a lot that I like to wear it with besides my white pants or jeans and when I decide to wear it it’s usually too hot for pants.  I tried to wear it over the winter under a blazer or cardigan but the ruffles looked funny under something, so it’s often neglected in my closet.

I decided to pull it out yesterday but after looking at these pictures I’ve decided it might sit in my closet awhile longer until I get motivated to get in shape like I was last summer.  P90X is calling my name again but I’m honestly ignoring it because its way more work than I’m willing to put forth.  That is until I saw my armpit fat and toneless arms in these pictures.  Maybe I should start it or some other exercise program up again…tomorrow…or next month…

I featured a picture of my ponytail because this is my favorite way to style a pony tail, with a section of hair wrapped around the base of the pony.  Love that it hides the hair band and look so much nicer than an ordinary pony for some reason.

My kids were chasing butterflies through the milk weed that’s featured in the background of these pictures and I thought, “Hey, that might make a nice photo background.”  It’s not bad, not great, but not bad.  But the years of memories of my little ones laughing and chasing butterflies here is what makes this area exquisite!  Butterflies are so beautiful and that’s why I featured the picture of the monarch I took yesterday with today’s outfit post.

By the way, are you digging the tan line?  We spent the day outdoors yesterday, with my niece and nephew, having water gun and water balloon fights, making a water park out of our play set and just enjoying the sunny weather!  The tan line may not be great but the fact that I’m getting tan is fantastic and our day was super fun!

*Reminder to enter the “Summer Fun” giveaway at the end of yesterday’s post.  Also, remember to follow Life Exquisite, like yesterday’s post and comment on what your favorite thing about summer is.  I’ll be announcing the winner next Monday!

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Food!  You know I love it!!!  So I thought I’d serve up some of my families favorite summer treats!  These are just a few of our favorites, we have lots more, but these are the ones we’ve enjoyed so far this summer!

Strawberry Shortcake:

Freshly picked strawberries and a large dollop of Cool Whip over still warm shortcake…yummy!

Ingredients:

Bisquick Shortcake Recipe (I also sprinkle sugar on top of my shortcakes before baking.)

Strawberries

Sugar

Cool Whip

Directions”

Pre-heat your oven and make your shortcakes according to the Bisquick recipe above.  As your shortcakes are baking, wash and cut your strawberries and put them in a medium sized bowl.  Add 1/4 of sugar per lb of strawberries to sweeten.  Once your shortcake biscuits are at a desired temperature (we prefer ours warm) cut them in half and scoop desired amount of strawberries and Cool Whip on top!  Enjoy!

Pudding Pops:

As a child I loved Bill Cosby’s pudding pop commercials and the pudding pops were pretty good too!  I’ve created my own recipe for the timeless treat that my kids are constantly asking for during the summer months.

Ingredients:

1 – 6.5 serving size box of desired flavor instant pudding

3 3/4 C milk

*You’ll also need a popsicle mold

Directions:

Mix your pudding and milk together for about 3 minutes then pour into popsicle molds and freeze.  Once throughly frozen serve and enjoy!

As you can see in the picture above we have bananas in one of them.  We’ve also done strawberries in our chocolate ones and adding these fruits is really good!  You can also make a couple different flavors of pudding and keep alternating spoonfuls of each flavor to your popsicle for another fun way to make pudding pops!

*This recipe will yield 6 pudding pops

 

Ice Cream Bar:

When I say the words, “ice cream bar,” in my house it is promptly followed by excited cries, clapping and joyful leaps.  My kids love ice cream bar nights!  Most of the time its impromptu (like the one featured below), but sometimes I plan it and buy all sorts of delicious goodies to go on top of our ice cream.  There are no specific ingredients or directions for this treat except to think of your families favorite ice cream and toppings, set them up buffet style and let your kids pile their ice cream high with what ever they want!

Smoothies:

One of the things I love about summer is that my kids often request smoothies as a meal and I’m happy to comply.   It’s a completely healthy breakfast, lunch or treat that’s packed with lots of vitamins from yogurt and fruits, plus they are delicious!  Below I’ll share two of my kid’s favorite recipes with you.


Cinnamon & Sugar Peach Smoothie:

Ingredients:

1 C vanilla yogurt

8-10 ice cubes

1 whole peach

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Cube your peach and add it and all other ingredients to blender.  Blend thoroughly and pour in to glasses.  Top with Cool Whip if desired and enjoy!

Banana Split Smoothie:

Ingredients:

1 C vanilla yogurt

8-10 ice cubes

1 1/2 C whole strawberries

1/2 banana

1/3 C cubed pineapple

1 1/2 – 2 TBSP Hershey’s Syrup

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend thoroughly.  Poor into glasses and serve.  We always add Cool Whip and mini chocolate chips on top!

*Both of these recipes make two servings (two full) glasses or 6 smaller servings.

** We sometimes substitute yogurt with frozen yogurt for a sweeter treat.

And now to celebrate that LE has reached 100 followers and this will be the last week of the “Summer Fun” theme, a…

 Treat-tastic Giveaway!!!

In keeping with the “Summer Fun” theme and today’s posts theme I went with strawberries!!!

To enter to win these stuffed strawberries:

1)  Follow Life Exquisite here at wordpress

2)Like this post

3) Comment below on what your favorite thing about summer is!

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(Top, Necklace, Ring & Sandals – Maurices, Jeans – JCPenney, Bangles, Earrings & Headband – Claires)

In my opinion, peacocks are one of the most beautiful creatures in the animal kingdom, definitely the prettiest bird, and I tend to be drawn to things that feature peacocks in their design.  Weather its art, clothing, accessories, if it’s peacock it draws me in.  It’s a wonder that I really have very few things that feature peacocks other than these things you see here!

Knowing I have a thing for the beauty of peacocks, my son picked out all of the peacock accessories for me last summer.  Didn’t he do a great job?!  At least, I was impressed at how well he put everything together for a four-year old boy.  He can get me jewelry whenever he wants too!

The only peacock accessory he didn’t pick out is the headband.  I got it to go with my baby girls dress for her 2nd Birthday.

I was just trying out my new camera and should have ironed the backdrop sheet. Sorry for the wrinkles.

Whenever I’m wearing my peacock accessories I also wear my makeup to match with blue, green and copper tones.  This picture doesn’t feature it well but it gives you an idea.  I’ll try to get a better picture next time.

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Kids love to explore the great outdoors and nature gives us so many wonderful ways in which to enjoy summer!  Added bonus…it’s super cheap, if not completely free! Here are some ways that my family takes advantage of natures free entertainment during the summer months:

Scavenger Hunt

We’ve been doing this every summer since my oldest daughter was big enough to toddle along and hold a pale.  We mix our scavenger hunt in with a walk or hike but you certainly don’t have to leave your yard for this to be enjoyable.  I make up a list of things that they will look for while we are out walking or hiking and they each carry a pale and find as many things on the list as they can. When we get back to the house we look at all the treasures we found!

This is the most recent picture I could find of one of our scavenger hunts and it’s almost two years old! How sad is that?! I guess I’ll need to bring my camera with on the next one.

Look To The Clouds

Kids love to use their imaginations.  So let your kids use theirs while lying on a blanket together looking up at the sky.  It’s fun to see what masterpieces they’ll observe in the clouds and even more fun to listen to how they explain the cloud images they see!  The other day when we were out we saw a mermaid, monster truck & jelly fish, among many other cloud masterpieces!

Capturing Nature

Watching kids run around, laughing, while chasing after a butterfly or grasshopper with a net in hand is always so fun to watch!  My kids love to catch bugs or frogs or whatever in a bug catcher and observe them as they move and squirm around.  My kids favorite catches are butterflies, frogs and fireflies.  (Let them catch a jar full of fireflies and bring them into their room to watch them blink as they fall asleep…my kids love doing this!)  If you have a magnifying glass it’s even more fun as you explore these creatures a little BIGGER!

My son is the child in our house who most loves catching things.  Because I’m not entirely fond of bugs, reptiles or amphibians (Yes, I’m girly.) we do have a few rules like we have to treat the captured critters gently, the little critters can only come in the house if they are in containers, and all critters have to be released after 24 hours, except caterpillars (So we can watch them metamorphose, but we let it go as soon as it’s out of its cocoon.) and Dot, a salamander we caught this spring who has become a pet.

Have A Picnic

Pull out that picnic basket, or just use a grocery bag if you don’t have a basket, and have your kids help you pack a lunch to enjoy on a blanket in your yard.  My kids love picnics and we do them quite frequently either in our back yard or on our porch.   I’m not sure why but they always request lemonade for out picnics so I must always be prepared!  It’s usually after our picnics that we enjoy cloud art!  Double fun!

Star Gazing

A few times each summer we let the kids stay up really late on a Friday night and we lay down on our lawn chairs, snuggling under quilts and see who will spot the first star of the night.  Then as more and more stars appear we look for different constellations, like the big and little dipper and Orion.  Since we aren’t constellation experts we love to use my husbands Google Sky Map  application that locates constellations for you when you hold it up to the starry night sky!  We are hoping to do this tonight after our first bonfire of the summer!  The kids always hope to see a falling star so we’ll see!

What are some ways that your family likes to enjoy nature!

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This outfit…

(striped tee, sandals and colorful beed bracelet – Maurices, skirt – an old Old Navy, bracelets – Claire’s, Purse – JCPenney)

Comments like, “Oo, I like your lacy nautical top!” or “Wow, I never would have thought to put that top with that skirt, but it’s awesome!” were a couple of the many compliments I received on this outfit while in town yesterday!  To all of you who made my day by complimenting my outfit choice, I give another big thank you!

My outfit wasn’t the only thing catching compliments yesterday.  I was asked a few times how I did my hair.  The answer to said question, “I take small sections and twist them, then I tie them in knots and pin the knots down.”  I’m secretly wondering if the girl who told me she’d have to try it sometime actually will.

I had to post the last picture because of how I’m holding my skirt up while I’m walking.  I never noticed myself doing it until my husband pointed it out the other day and then I noticed that in all the pictures I’m walking in, I have my skirt in hand.  I’m really not sure why I do this.  I think it might be because the elastic in this skirt is failing and I think holding it helps me feel like I wont turn into the feminine form of this.  I guess it’s time to get some new elastic!

*Red & white striped tee last seen here.

**I’m double posting on Fashion & Beauty today…check out Caviar.

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The thought of eating fish eggs, no matter how “classy” of a food it supposedly is, has always deeply disgusted me.  However, there’s a new take on caviar that I’m kind of loving and will definitely be trying out.  Have you seen this?

Pretty cool right?!  I’m not sure how long the caviar beeds stay on but I’m going to find out as soon as my caviar color wheel arrives!

If you are interested in how to get caviar nails here’s a tutorial

*Images courtesy of As Time Goes Buy.

**I’m double posting on Fashion & Beauty today…check out  What Do Stripes Lace & Knots Have In Common?

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