Around Here Twenty-Six: 06/23-06/29

Friday, June 30, 2017

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this minute.

photo cred:  The Daily American, Christina Dunmyer

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 278+ hours  (of 1000)
Such a beautiful weather week in western PA that we took full advantage of with outdoor hours.  Lots of playing outside, a volleyball game on Tuesday for B and I (we took all four kids with us!), and some dog walking.  We had a perfectly summer outdoor dinner last night and then sat around the fire ring until about 11p with a beautiful starry sky above.

Reading and finished The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig which I borrowed from our library. I started this week Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and I'm in love with it already.

Library Haul: 14 books, favorites:  Yes Day by the incredible, late Amy Rosenthal (who also wrote this article that has lodged itself into my heart for the rest of time). Triangle by Mac Barnett (one of our fav authors! Have you seen his TED talk, it's such a good one!), and Click, Clack, Peep by Doreen Cronin

Baseballin' for Grey's all-star team.  He was 9 for 9 in his tournament last week and is having a blast and so happy to still be in season.  We have two more tournaments to come yet and he is thrilled.

Hosting our 9th annual Studer's Invitational Beer Olympics!  We had a gorgeous summer day and such great participants again this year.  I have a full post coming - including a Beer Olympic Planning Toolkit available on Etsy - but suffice to say it was another incredible day that made so many memories. We are already started planning for the last Beer Olympics next year - the tenth annual!

Giggling about the Rust Man who is just growing so much and so fast. His little front teeth have me dead with every smile.  He is such a sneaky little thing and loves stealing utensils out of the kitchen drawer and dunking them in the dogs' dishes.  He also steals the toilet bowl cleaner brush from the bathrooms just to spite me because he looks right at me and laughs and then runs.

Getting new hairdos! Grey had a playday with a baseball teammate all day on Wednesday, so the girls and I dropped Rusty off with Daddy and headed out to Peles Salon.  The girls got temp hair dye and were over the moon about it.  Gemma would have gone full head bright pink (hah), but we kept it to the ends for both.  Violet's hair is so white, you can see only the tiniest tinge of lavender on her ends.  It should wash out after about fifteen baths, but they are absolutely loving their fun summer looks.  I may have created monsters, hahha, just like their momma.  I kept it pretty low key this time, a nice, fresh cut and some natural blonde highlights.  booyah.

Suffering through some poison ivy.  ugh.  I made a big to-do last week to Brandon (who always seems to have it in the summer) that maybe 'I'm just not allergic because I've never had it in my whole life!' and then here I am eating my words big time because look who Karma came after for pretending to be an x-man immune of poison ivy.  I have it on my ankle, right arm and hand and my chin (the worst).

Making korean beef over rice and grilled chicken with this marinade with a side of grilled zucchini, cabbage, and onions (with bacon bits, YUM).  I whipped up a batch of these chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal cookies to send along on Grey's playday.  Shout-out to my facebook followers who helped get me through an evening that I just could not bring myself to make dinner with all their helpful suggestions on what to make when you just can't even (I did end up going with cereal which was wildly applauded from our kids - hah!)

Around Here Twenty five: 06/16-06/22

Friday, June 23, 2017

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this minute.


Big Jack! Our resident toad.

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 245+ hours (of 1000)
Up 32 hours this week.  I made a goal of getting at least three hours a day and succeeded and way overachieved on a few.  We racked up hours in the beautiful sunshine this week and I got in quite a few walks with the dogs.  I even cleared a path in our woods to the farm trails behind our house so we could get there easier (and so the kids could explore).  I had a double header volleyball game on Tuesday night and Rusty and I did quite a bit of mowing yesterday to get ready for this weekend.

Reading and finishing Dark Matter by Blake Crouch in three days.  It was a great, fun read - I recommend it! For my next book on the Inspired Reader's Book Club Summer Checklist, I borrowed a YA book from our library this week (two checks off the list for one book!) The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig.

Library Haul: 16 books [we're making a goal to visit the library once a week this summer (for lunch! free lunch to kids on weekdays from noon-1p at the downtown library).  And so I'm also going to list our favorites of the books we score for the week].  Favorites:  Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik, Yawn by Sally Symes (set us all off on chain reaction yawning spree! so funny!), Hide and Snake by Keith Baker, Night Creatures a Scholastic First Discovery Book, and Food Chain by M.P. Robertson (Grey thinks this book is hilarious!)*

Enjoying Idlewild & Soakzone.  Our whole family went out on Friday with Gigi and Pappy and had a great day (B took off).  We were so surprised to see that Violet is exactly 36inches tall and loves riding the big rides!  She rode the paratrooper with me and the Loggin' Tobaggin' with all of us for goodness sakes!  It was such a fun day and Pap and Gigi had packed a whole picnic lunch with a throw-away charcoal grill! Right when we were getting ready to leave early to make it home for baseball practice, we got a text that practice was cancelled - so we ended up staying for most of the rest of the evening!  Then the three big kids GOT TO GO AGAIN on Tuesday with Abba and Chum!  (Best Christmas gift ever local Floodcity families!  Buy Idlewild season passes on Black Friday for the kids and grandparents!) The kids and my parents spent the at the park with Aunt Uch and had a blast riding rides, water park'ing, and watching the little song & dance shows (Gem is obsessed).  It was glorious to see them so tired and happy at the end of a long, fun day!

Party hopping on Saturday.  We enjoyed a fun and delicious bbq at the Rummell's house where we got to meet our newest cousin Baby Austin.  Then we headed over to our friend Sara's bridal shower. The girls love attending bridal showers and feeling like their one of the grown up ladies.  We rushed to try to make it to Grey's game (he got called up to play with 9-10yr olds with three of his little friends) but we rolled up right at the very end of the game.

Celebrating Father's day at the Quemahoming Dam all day long.  It was perfection.

Continuing our summer holiday celebrations with lighting sparklers for Juneteenth and taking the dogs for a nice long dusk walk and grilled dinner on Summer Solstice.

Preparing for Beer Olympics this weekend!  We got the garage all cleared out and the grass mowed. The rules have been printed, the shirts and kegs ordered, and one final grocery trip and we'll be all set to go for our ninth annual event!  The penultimate!

Blogging!  I wrote a post everyday this week because the creativity was flowing, and when you got it - you got it use it up! It felt good to get a little bit of time with something that is just mine this week.  Literally every single other thing in my life is shared with someone else - my meals, my time, my attention, my energy.  But this little corner of my life is just for me and it feels good to cultivate it and spend a little self-care time over here getting my brain and heart out. (thanks for hanging out!)

Making  slow cooker cheesy chicken and rice, grilled honey garlic porkchops, one of my favorite dinners - chicken cordon bleu pasta since we got some delicious ham from my dad & mum (thank you!).  And I made camo cupcakes to celebrate Father's day (using this icing technique).

*all book links go to my Amazon Associates pages and any purchases send a nominal fee my way for recommending.  thanks for supporting Team Studer

Father's day at the Que

Thursday, June 22, 2017

We celebrated Father's day at our favorite local spot, The Quemahoming Dam (I included it in my no bummer summer list!) with our Dadda, my Dad (Chum), and Brandon's Dad (Pappy-) - plus Abba, Gigi, Aunt Uch, Kevin, and Aunt Kitty! We reserved a small pavilion (it's only $25!) and spend the day enjoying the beautiful weather, grilling out on the charcoal grill for a delicious picnic dinner, swimming in the dam, fishing, skipping rocks, playing on the playground, and even kayaking.  It was honestly such a perfect day.

First, the gratitude that I have that my children know the joy and comfort of all the people that love the very most in one place at one time runs so so deep.  I know it is a blessing beyond belief that we are surrounded with family and friends who first love our babies, but also like each other enough to spend whole days together in harmonious peace (even whole vacations together!) This gift is never one that escapes me and for one that I am so truly grateful for.  

Secondly, we have such good Dads in our lives.  

Brandon, who will forever be the single greatest thing I have ever given my children; a man who loves them, and encourages them, and celebrates all their weird little quirks, and who in deliberate and obvious ways so very much loves their mother.  

Chum and Pappy, our Dads, who have taught us each nearly every important lesson of our lives.  And then, graduated to grandfather status and just straight kills it.  These kids of ours are so blessed with grandpas that not only teach them so much, but go out of their way to create special little activities that are unique to them and to each child.  Like golfing, and quad riding, and fishing, and always being up for a game of soccer or catch in the yard.  

And so many Dads we know; our friends and family, the kids' uncles and godfathers.  I will never reach the end of my gratitude for the examples of good men that my children have in their lives.  (thank you to all of you good, decent, and kind men in our life).