Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How To Pack For Vacation

Normally I write a fashion post on Wednesdays.  However, since I'm on vacation this week, my wardrobe consists of bathing suits and flip flops.  Nobody wants to see that.

I am terrible at packing.  I always bring too much, forget something important, and vow to do better next time.  So, I found some bloggers who are great at packing, and I thought I'd share their ideas with you today.

Alison from Get Your Pretty On made a Ten Day Summer Vacation Packing List that is genius. She took fourteen pieces and combined them into different outfits for a ten day summer vacation.  Alison also shared that she puts outfits together and takes pictures of them with her phone before she packs them, so she can easily pull together what she wants to wear each day.  If only I were that organized!

If you're heading to Disney or another destination that requires lots of walking, you'll want to read What To Wear To Disney World from Jo-Lynne at Musings of A Housewife.  Not only does she have great packing tips, she shares some footwear finds that are both comfortable and stylish.

Finally, Connie from Refinery 29 has the best article to help you Travel Like A Minimalist. She shares seven tips to fit everything you need on a vacation into a carry-on size suitcase.  I would love to have her help me pack for my next trip that requires air travel.

The only thing that keeps my suitcase from looking like a wrinkled mess are these little gems that I found at Ikea.  I wrote about them a few months ago, and they are so helpful for keeping things organized.  I bought one set but I think I might need more.

Confession time....I didn't use a single one of these tips.  As usual, I had too much to do, wasn't organized, and ended up throwing everything into suitcases and bins for my husband to pack into the car.  However, I'm going to pin my own post, and I vow to do better next time....

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Manzanita, Oregon

If you guessed that we are vacationing on the Oregon Coast, you win!  Not sure what you won - I'll have to think about that.  But I have plenty of time, because I'm on vacation!

We have been renting the same house for a week in the summer for the past sixteen years. Extended family usually join us, and we spend the time relaxing, eating, and enjoying the beautiful five mile beach.

Manzanita is a tiny town just south of Cannon Beach on HIghway 101 in Oregon.  There is one main street with restaurants and little shops, and the atmosphere is so laid back and.....restful. That's the best way to describe it.  I love coming home from vacation and actually feeling rejuvenated. 

Our days are spent reading and playing on the beach.

If we're feeling really energetic, we throw in an adventure like kayaking or hiking.

In the evenings, we walk to town for ice cream, and have a bonfire while the sun sets.

Our boys were one and three when we first discovered Manzanita, and we've been back every summer since then.  They've grown up coming here - and I hope someday they bring my grandchildren too!

Monday, July 28, 2014

I'm On Vacation!

Somewhere down on that beach, I'm relaxing with a Diet Coke and a good book right now. Does anybody know where I am?  Leave me your guess in the comments - and tomorrow all will be revealed!

I will still have new posts while I'm away, and on Thursday I'm excited to have my very first guest on my blog. Susan from the most -- of every moment graciously agreed to write for me, and you won't want to miss it.

Until tomorrow....

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Easiest Toffee Cookies

Last month our high school Booster Club held a fundraiser golf tournament and barbecue. All of the volunteers were asked to provide a plate of cookies for dessert, and my friend Linnea brought these toffee cookies.  I may or may not have sampled one before the BBQ, and it was so delicious, I may have had a few more.  I think this is the easiest cookie recipe I've ever made, and I dare you to eat just one!

Toffee Cookies

2 sticks butter
2/3 cup sugar
Keebler Original Club Crackers
1 cup pecans, finely chopped

Cover a 12x15 cookie sheet with foil, then line with Keebler Original Club Crackers.  Melt butter over medium heat, stir in sugar, and bring to a boil for about two minutes, stirring constantly.  Pour butter/sugar mixture over crackers, and spread evenly with a pastry brush.  Sprinkle pecans over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Break apart to serve.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sharing Some Gratitude Part Three

It's time again to share some gratitude.  For three months I've kept my gratitude journal - which is definitely a record for me.  July has been very busy with lots of work, but there's always time for a little gratitude!

--I'm grateful for my cousins.  There are eleven of us, and I'm the oldest.  Even though we're scattered around the country, we've remained close.  Every few weeks we have a group "texting" party - during the last one, 250 messages were sent back and forth!  It's like the old party line on steroids.  This is my youngest cousin Debbie, her son Evan, and my niece Ashley.

--I'm grateful for zucchini.  Our garden is overflowing, and my hubby has resorted to the "drop and dash" to get rid of some, although I'm sure our neighbors are on to him.  Fried zucchini is one of my favorite foods, and I found this recipe for shredded zucchini and black bean salad that looks delicious.

--I'm grateful that it's time for vacation next week.  It's a secret location, to be revealed on Monday.  Special bonus gratitude - my mom and Grandpa Ed will be there too!

--I'm grateful for sunsets like this one off my back deck.  Gorgeous.

--I'm grateful for all of you.  I've said it every month, but I continue to be amazed by the wonderful people out there in the blogging world.  You have made my life so much better.

I hope you find what you are grateful for.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It Started When He Was Nine

My younger son T is a long distance runner - a passion he discovered when he was nine. Since then he has worked hard to turn that passion into a skill, and he's become a very accomplished cross country competitor. It all started with his first 5K race seven years ago....

I was a little worried about sending him off on his own.  He didn't know the course, and he was so small next to the other runners.  But he really wanted to do it, and I figured he'd just follow everyone else.  Besides, there was no way I could keep up!

He looks a little concerned too.  Maybe he was getting mentally prepared.

No need to worry.  Halfway through the race, these nice men took him under their wing and ran with him to the finish.

Victory!!  He finished in a very respectable 33 minutes - not bad for a nine year old.  And a running career was born...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Scarf

I love to wear scarves - yes, even in the summer.  Scarves add a colorful finishing touch to a simple outfit, and are a fun alternative to a necklace.  I admit that I'm a bit challenged when it comes to tying them - which is why infinity scarves are my new best friend.  Loop them around your neck twice - and you're done!

Summer scarves work even in warmer climates, as long as you keep the fabric light.  The one I'm wearing above is a tie-dye cotton voile, and it adds visual interest to my skirt and t-shirt without weighing me down.

I found some lovely scarves online that I might have to add to my collection.

This flag scarf from Target couldn't be more summer-like.

An acrylic gauze scarf, like this one from Old Navy, is so lightweight, you won't even know you have it on.

The pom poms on this scarf from Nordstrom add a really fun texture.

Does anyone else wear a scarf in the summer, or is it just me?

Linking up with Get Your Pretty On, The Pleated PoppyBecause Shanna Said SoNot Dead Yet StyleVodka Infused Lemonade.