Grocery Shopping Summer Style

Grocery Shopping Summer Style

The last time I shared a grocery shopping post I focused on how I keep my family’s trips in line with our budget.  Meal planning allows me to create a list that is organized and keeps my fridge and pantry stocked with everything I will need for the next week or two ahead.  This summer though my meal planning has gone MIA just a bit, which I correlate directly with the warmer weather and a busy schedule.

Summer Grocery Shopping - Happy Wife Healthy Life

Who wants to slave over a hot stove in 90 degree weather or spend time inside cooking when you can get outside and be active instead?  Nobody likes to waste food either and I find if I plan too many meals a week during the summer months then we are more likely not able to eat all the food before it goes bad, simply because we are either not home or are too busy to bother with following a recipe.

Summer Grocery Shopping - Happy Wife Healthy Life

I fully expect my meal planning gene to kick back in once the dog days of summer come to a close and the cooler fall days are upon us, but for now we are sticking to a looser meal schedule.  We are making a point to just buy what sounds good to us, mostly fresh produce and meats we can grill along with light starches such as quinoa and orzo.

Summer Grocery Shopping - Happy Wife Healthy Life

We have been doing the bulk of our shopping this summer at Costco and the other items we can’t get, or would rather not buy in bulk at Kroger. I pack a salad for lunch literally every day and need those huge bags of spinach and mixed greens sold at Costco to get me through the week.  Right now my current favorite lunch salad is a drizzle of balsamic on mixed greens with diced apple, half a diced avocado, a handful of walnuts and cheese such as feta.  That combination never gets old in my opinion!  For example, I purchase the mixed greens, apples, walnuts and avocados at Costco and then get a good balsamic reduction either from Kroger or the farmer’s market, along with the feta, smoked Gouda or sharp cheddar cheese.

Summer Grocery Shopping - Happy Wife Healthy Life

We also like to buy our meat at Costco since there are a ton of organic beef and chicken options that we can throw on the grill, keeping cleanup a breeze as well, which ultimately saves us even more time.  Another bulk purchase I love from Costco is frozen berries.  You can get huge 2 pound bags of frozen strawberries or blueberries for just a bit more cost than a half pound or so at a regular grocery chain.

Summer Grocery Shopping - Happy Wife Healthy Life

I have smoothies at least three times a week either for breakfast or as a snack, so having frozen berries available in bulk saves us a ton of money and keeps me picking healthy options since I love smoothies so much.  Basically the motto at my house for summer meals is the easier and quicker, and less mess the better!

Summer Grocery Shopping - Happy Wife Healthy Life

Conversation Time.

  • How do your meals change between seasons?
  • What is your go-to warm weather dinner?
  • Do you grocery shop at more than one store?
The Definition of Vacation

The Definition of Vacation

As much as I love social media, blogging and browsing the web, it can certainly take over your life and become an addiction before you even realize it.  How many of you have caught yourself checking Facebook or Instagram without even recognizing you logged-in simply out of habit rather than for a purpose?  Or, raise your hand if you ever thought to just glance at Pinterest for a ‘quick’ five minutes that somehow turned into a 45 minute activity? Perhaps you have gone out to dinner with a significant other or with friends and caught yourself checking email between courses when you really should be focusing on the person or people around you.  I’m not embarrassed to admit I have been guilty with all of the above at least one time or another and perhaps many of you can relate!

Myrtle Beach, SC Vacation - Happy Wife Healthy Life

I have a vacation with family planned that I am looking forward to and I would truly like to make an effort to be conscious of the time I spend on social media and the internet in general.  It is so easy to get lost in blog reading and online window shopping, but I really want to instead spend a week getting lost in book reading, beach walking and spending my days with family instead.  Some people can easily put the phone away without much thought, but I know that I need to make a conscious effort in order to be successful with my goal of stepping away.

Vacation Goals - Happy Wife Healthy Life

I haven’t decided yet if I will take a full break or if I will set aside a few minutes a day to check in, but I am not going to get too worked up about it either way.  I plan to share a few Instagram shots throughout the week, but my blog reading, Pinterest, internet and Facebook time will likely be non-existent.  I plan to already have one or two posts written and set to publish during this time, but besides that blog writing will be non-existent as well.

The definition of a vacation is a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel.’  I don’t get many vacations during the year so I plan to take full advantage of this opportunity to rest, relax and unwind!

Conversation Time.

  • What vacations are you taking this year?  Do you prefer more relaxed vacations or ones with explorations and plenty of activities planned?
  • What is the best vacation you have ever taken?
  • When was the last time you took a break from social media?
Homearama 2014

Homearama 2014

If you know me personally, or read the blog on a regular basis, then you know I am a bit of a dreamer and one of my very favorite subjects to daydream about is home building and home decorating.  Sunday afternoon Tim and I went to Homearama, one of my favorite events since I was a little girl.  Last year I attended one also at Carriage Hill, the same community as this year’s only with nine new houses being showcased this time.

Homearama 2014 - Carriage Trails

Homearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsMy dad owns a tile business and I remember visiting his worksites when I was a little girl.  He did a lot of corporate jobs, but he also laid the tile in many elaborate single-family homes too.  Some of them were seemingly even larger than the golf course club houses we passed while driving into the job site.  I loved watching these houses be built from the ground-up, and the simple details like crown molding, jack-and-jill bathrooms and breakfast nooks complete with sunlight filled bay windows have stuck with me ever since.

Homearama 2014 - Carriage Trails

Homearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsI think these early years of being exposed to building a home really set a passion in me for decorating and home building.  I am obviously still young and am not able to include everything I wish I could in my current home, but hopefully one day I will bring my childhood dream of designing my own home to life.

Homearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsHomearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsAlthough things like crown molding, a jack-and-jill bathroom and bay windows remain at the top of my want list, 5,000+ square foot homes and elaborate designs no longer interest me.  In fact, my taste has changed a lot over the years.  I prefer simple and smaller.  Now that I have my own home that is 2,100 square feet, I couldn’t imagine cleaning one of those monstrosities…No thank you!

Homearama 2014 - Carriage Trails

Homearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsMy dream home is more along the line of 2,500 square feet at the very most and I like classic designs with craftsman-style character.  My goal is to build a new home that suits my taste and still has a hint of that old-school charm I love.  As cool as a basketball court would be in my future basement, I am still not 100% sure if that is a necessity on my wish list!

Homearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsHowever, I do have to say that this craft room really caught my attention!  You all know that I love to make wreaths and crafts, and wouldn’t you know that I found the best wreath-making room I have ever seen!

Homearama 2014 - Carriage TrailsPretty cool, huh?? 

My end impression of Homearama was that I once again was reminded that I don’t want a huge home and that I have a much more simplistic taste when it comes to design and décor.  It is always fun to gather ideas though from each home that you can use for inspiration, on a smaller scale, in your own home.  There is another local Homearama coming up this fall that I am hoping to attend as well!

Conversation Time.

  • Have you ever been to a Homearama?  What was your experience?
  • What does your dream home look like?  Would you ever custom build a home from scratch?
  • What are the three most important things in home design you would include in your dream house?  An amazing kitchen is definitely the most important for me!  I also love the coziness fireplaces bring to a home and an outdoor space for entertaining would be nice as well.
Welcome Home Dinner

Welcome Home Dinner

Look at me sharing two posts in a row!  It is almost like the good old days of blogging when it was a daily thing.  As much as I love blogging, I think it is easy to wear yourself out if you get too obsessed, just like so many things in life.  I wish I could blog everyday again, but for my own sanity I cannot at this time.  It seems like 2-3 posts a week is going pretty good lately so I am going to keep on that schedule as long as it keeps feeling like the right choice.  If I want to blog more than I will, and if I want to blog less than I will!  It is all about finding that balance for both myself and my family right now, and I hope you all will stick around and keep reading as long as I’m writing!

It has been awhile since I shared a full day of eats, but Sunday’s eats were too good not to share!  After a busy day Saturday that was full of activity, I woke up Sunday morning feeling hungry and ready to eat.  I found myself craving salt so I made a classic breakfast of two eggs over easy, smoked gouda cheese, a thick slice of bacon (real bacon…not turkey…and it was amazing!), and two slices of whole wheat bread.  I piled the eggs, cheese and bacon on top of the toast and ate my sandwich halves opened face.

Eggs, Whole Wheat Toast, Bacon and Smoked GoudaThis. Was. Amazing!  Sometimes you don’t need anything too fancy, just simple, good ingredients can do the trick.

After going on a run / walk with Tebow Sunday afternoon I made myself an easy fruit smoothie filled with three ingredients: 1 cup water, ½ cup frozen cherries and a half a frozen banana.

Smoothie - Water, Frozen Cherries and Frozen BananaSince Tim was coming back from Denver Sunday evening, I knew a welcome home dinner would be a great idea that he would love.  I decided the menu would be pizza, collard greens and his favorite dessert, so I started prepping early in the day to ensure everything would be ready to assemble and bake when he was on his way home.

For the pizza, I prepped the dough, made with white whole wheat flour, in my bread maker which took about an hour and a half.  Afterwards I separated the 2 pound batch and saved half for Sunday’s pizza and the other half went into the freezer for future use.  I also browned the Italian sausage and sliced the fresh mozzarella for the pizza, and I washed and sliced the collard greens as well.

Tim’s favorite dessert in the world is key lime pie so I decided to whip up a recipe I thought he would love.  It all started with the graham cracker crust, which I made earlier and baked for five minutes then set aside to let cool.

Homemade Graham Cracker CrustI will be sharing my key lime pie recipe (including the crust!) next week so make sure you are on the lookout for it!  This pie turned out so good and was even layered with a little heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla mix…three ingredients I can definitely get behind!

Here was my plate, which included a little pizza (plus two more slices) and collard greens cooked with bacon.

Homemade Pizza with Italian Sausage and Fresh MozzarellaI also had a slice of key lime pie for dessert.  I loved the pie, but I am not going to lie, I think my favorite part was the graham cracker crust.  Store-bought crust just can’t compete!

Easy as Pie: Key Lime PieThanks to Jenn for hosting WIAW!  Stop by her blog to find more blogs to read and delicious recipes to make.

Conversation Time.

  • What is your favorite way to eat eggs?  Over easy?  Scrambled?  Hard boiled?
  • In your opinion, what is the epitome of a classic breakfast?
  • What’s your bacon preference: turkey or pork?
  • Favorite pizza topping, ready…go!
A Weekend to Myself

A Weekend to Myself

If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know I had a pretty busy weekend.  Tim left for Denver Thursday morning at 6, so I had the rest of that day, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 7ish all to myself.  I knew the time would go fast if I was active and made plans, so staying busy is exactly what I did.  If you want to see what a long weekend looks like when it’s just me, keep reading!

I worked Thursday 8-5 and took Tebow on a walk when I got home.  Graeter’s Ice Cream hosts ‘Dog’s Day Out’ the first Thursday of each month in the summer and since it was canceled the week before due to the July 4th holiday, I decided to treat Tebow to a walk and a Frosty Paws since the weather was beautiful.

A Weekend to Myself :: Graeter's Ice CreamWe got our exercise in both to and from Graeter’s and enjoyed a little sweetness in between: A scoop of Strawberry Chip in a sugar cone for me and a dog-friendly treat for Teb. We sat outside the store until we both finished our ice cream and then headed back, fueled by a bit of a sugar rush.  All-in-all the trip took us about an hour and when we got home I wrote Friday’s blog post about my Dining Room makeover, had a little leftover dinner of quinoa salad, and watched the modern-day version of Footloose, which I’ve seen at least five times and love it!  Just another thing you do when your husband is out of town, watch movies he’d prefer to skip!

A Weekend to Myself :: FootlooseI went to the gym early Friday morning and had the afternoon off work, so I came home around noon to take care of Tebow and have a green smoothie for lunch before meeting my mom for a little window shopping at the mall and facials at our favorite spa, Woodhouse.

A Weekend to Myself :: Green SmoothieAfter our girls day we met up with my brother and dad for a little family dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse.  My mom and I split the lasagna + chicken parmesan option, and my dad and brother shared the Ultimate Feast for Two.

A Weekend to Myself :: Spaghetti WarehouseIn reality I think this could have fed our entire table of four!  It had everything from lasagna and chicken parmesan, to ravioli with alfredo, pasta with meat sauce, garlic bread, sausage and meatballs.  We haven’t had dinner with just the four of us in a while and it definitely felt a little nostalgic and sweet.  I am so thankful to have such a close-knit, loving and supporting family, it’s such a blessing in my life!

Saturday was busy from start-to-finish as well as I met my friend Sam at a cycling studio that has been open only about 6 weeks called Cycle-Logik and from 8-9:30 was one of the concert series classes.

A Weekend to Myself :: Cycle-LogikBasically we cycled for 90 minutes while watching a Lady Gaga concert on two projection screens.  The lighting was dim besides the colorful light show in the studio, the music was pumping and we all had heart rate monitors, which showcased our stats on the flat screens located at the front of the room.

A Weekend to Myself :: Cycle-LogikI have always had a really slow heart rate, typically resting around 40, so I was only mildly  surprised to see I came in 18th out of 19 people in total ‘points’ earned during the class.  After I warmed up my heart rate only made it to about 60 while others were already at 100+.  I guess if I can’t win the competition, at least my heart is efficient!  I finally made it to about 150 a couple times, but that was really hard for me.  I literally thought I would fall over if I pedaled one more time so thankfully I know my body well enough to be aware of when to push it and when to back off!  Other perks included water fill-ups by the employees of Cycle Logiq during the class so you didn’t have to get off your bike, and a fresh cold towel delivered to each individual after the class while you were cooling down on the bike.  It was amazing!

After class I made and ate breakfast and then took Tebow on a walk to get him a little exercise while also stretching my legs.  It was pretty warm so I tried to make it a quick one!

A Weekend to Myself :: Walk with TebowI headed to the library after getting Tebow and I plenty of water after our walk, and then I drove to Meghan’s for a little pool time.

A Weekend to Myself :: SwimmingIt was a cloudy afternoon, but we made it work with some chatting, reading and a little sleeping.  I made it home about 7:30 in time to take care of Tebow and eat dinner before heading to bed.

I slept-in Sunday morning until 9:30, which meant I got 12 hours of sleep the night before.  Let me tell you, when I am tired and need rest my body certainly lets me know.  I relaxed with a little coffee on the couch until about 11 and then started working on Tim’s ‘welcome home’ dinner.  (I will share more about it tomorrow!!)

I took Tebow on a 45 minute walk / run to the park while the laundry was going and my bread maker was doing its thing.  We even did a little off-leash training and yes I was scared to death!  I waited until we were about done though to make sure he was nice and tired.  Catching a tired dog would have to be easier than catching one who just started to run, right?

A Weekend to Myself :: Working with Tebow off-leashHe did so good though and although it will take a long time for him to be off-leash without me worrying, I would say this was a good step!  When we got home,  Tebow cooled down with a little ice water and nap on the cool tile in our kitchen, I did some housecleaning, linen washing, vacuuming and dish washing.

Tim’s flight landed about 3:30 and he drove to Costco for a few groceries before heading home.  Tebow went berserk when Tim walked through the door; you would have thought he had been gone for months!  That is one of the beautiful things about sweet pups, they always make you feel like the most important and special person in the world!  We ate dinner as a family, went to Kroger to grab just a few more items we needed that Costco couldn’t supply, and went to bed early.

Overall it was a great weekend filled with me time, but Sunday evening with my husband and sweet pup was truly the icing on the cake!

Conversation Time.

  • If you had a whole weekend to yourself, what would you do?  When was the last time you had time to truly do what you wanted?
  • Have you been to any awesome fitness classes lately?  What is it about a class or studio that makes you come back for more?
  • What did you do this past weekend?
  • Do you have a favorite spa you like to go to as a special treat?  What makes it so great?