The sweetest of summer days have long since faded away. And because those days were so filled to the brim, soaking up the splendor of the season and outside as much as possible, I am finally now sitting down to share the last of our summer adventures. One of my most cherished memories of summer twenty-sixteen was a trip to the blueberry fields.  We packed the fam up early one Saturday morning in July and headed to the most magical pick-your-own blueberries place. Graham and Violet held a contest to see who could pick the most and Graham won by a landslide. Violet ate the most, although our dear baby Penelope was a close second. Jeff and I always joke that kids (and heck grown-ups too) should have to weigh in and weigh out at these sorts of places. It really improves the pickers’ morale to keep up a steady snack while harvesting. I couldn’t help but think about how much our Penny reminded me of a baby bear cub, sitting next to that little basket of blueberries. She was so proud of herself for tipping the whole rig over and enjoying the spilled spoils. And who could stop her? Sweet baby. xo.
DSC_3442 DSC_3456 DSC_3437DSC_3432DSC_3409DSC_3397DSC_3424DSC_3451I couldn’t believe it, we brought home EIGHT pounds of freshly picked, perfectly plump blueberries. (I have birthed babies this size!) We ate half of them on the spot, threw a pound or two in the freezer, and used the remainders to whip up this most delectable blueberry lime galette. I for one have never had a very strong pie game, so am much more drawn to this more approachable, rustic version of the pastry.  The results were so heavenly. All in a day’s work and summer never tasted so sweet. xo.

For the filling:
4 cups blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 Tablespoon flour
pinch of sea salt
1 large egg

Another summer in the books. With so much running about, playdates, trips, small-child-rearing, and plain work, our sweet summer days slipped away much too fast. I so easily get caught up and worn out by all of the day-to-day to-dos, that pausing to piece together these photos and words is feeling both refreshing and rusty.

In late July, we took a really lovely family trip to Northern California to visit family and friends and attend a wedding. During our 8 sweet days there, we also took a mini-trip within a trip with just the 5 of us. We stayed at the sweetest little beach cottage, picnicked daily, rented beach cruiser bikes, hunted for gourmet ice cream cones, splashed in the ocean, flew kites, and collected more than our fair share of sand.  There is something about the sweet salt air and rocky Pacific coast that tugs at my spirit more than any other place. It has become part of my fabric after honeymooning here and later living here for a few short years. I so love this place and it brings me such joy each time we’ve returned to play at the beach and dip another babe’s toes in the ocean waves.

DSC_1545 DSC_1566 DSC_1567 DSC_1592 DSC_1597 DSC_1570DSC_1623Brave souls that we are, we recently took our little gaggle on a road trip. As they say, traveling with kids is worse than traveling without kids, but way better than never going at all. This is the truth.
For instance, we made double the stops in double the time on our way to Colorado. We also choose to detour through the Black Hills, South Dakota, in effort to mix up the scenery a bit. On the first evening of our journey, we stopped at Mount Rushmore. It was a lovely time of day to visit and hike around a bit. The light was warm and soft for photos, the air was cool, and the crowds were sparse.

On Day 2, we foolishly booked a tour at Wind Cave National Park smack dab in the center of Penelope’s usual nap time. With 3 small children and 2 frazzled parents, you can pretty much do the math and figure out how this all went down. Much like an airplane, these cave tours require 30 strangers to sandwich together into claustrophobic quarters and play by all the ranger’s rules while stumbling through the dark single file. Once you’re down, there’s no turning back…And so, in order to punish us for this unwise choice of entertainment, Penny wailed for 74 of the 75-minute tour which of course echoed to exponential decibels in the bowels of the cave. The poor park ranger managed to shout over the crying in order to interject his obligatory historical/geological commentary, then promptly expedited our family up the first available elevator at the end of the tour. The. Shame. For this reason, I am offering full refunds to any poor soul who was on this tour that day with us. You know who you are. (;


Once we made it to Colorado, we joined forces with our giant family reunion crew, spent time catching up and watching flocks of cousins play. We picnicked like it was our job. We also did some soft-core hiking (in other words, the opposite of hard-core) with our kiddos. (: Since it is the 100th anniversary of our beloved National Park system, it was extra special to visit a few along the way! We drove to the tip-top highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park. Technically Jeff drove, and I closed my eyes, clung to the door handle, and prayed for guardrails. But once we reached the top and I reopened my eyes, we experienced some of the most breathtaking views. Plus we frolicked with some moose, a herd of caribou, mountain rams, and some eagles. And looking back at these photos I already so greatly treasure our picturesque little adventures. We are just like the VonTrap family!–Minus clothes sewn from curtains and perfect pitch!

On the return drive, we made it within 100 miles of home before the most epic car seat blow out ensued. From my perch as co-pilot, I turned my head to the sound of jolly coos and squeals of joy. Here are my next 5 thoughts/words/actions:
“Wait. Who gave the baby chocolate!?”
“Wait. I ATE ALL the chocolate.”
“Wait. Then…How does she have chocolate all over her face/hands/mouth/clothes/car seat!?”
“Wait. That.’s NOT chocolate.”
“Jeff. PULL OVER!”
We learned a super valuable life lesson that day…NOT to feed your baby prunes on a road trip. And to ALWAYS pack extra wipes.

Meltdowns and poop stories aside, we had a most lovely trip. Somehow the hassles fade and the bright shiny memories of togetherness always remain. We are gearing up for trip part deux soon. Only this time we are flying…A flight or two with 3 small fries can’t be any worse than a cave tour, right!? (;
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So many creative project ideas pass through my head from day to day. Often it is not the right time or there is not enough time to entertain each idea, but this one in particular had been begging to be made for quite some time. And so, with a piece of pretty pink & blue vintage floral fabric, last weekend I set out to make a little summer sun bonnet for my Penny. Once the final stitch was in place, it took all my self-control not to wake her from her nap to try it on her sweet head! Ha! Eventually she roused on her own and had soaked through her diaper. What a convenient opportunity for an afternoon bath outside…

I adore how it frames her pretty round face and shelters her precious baby skin from the sun. I say bring back all the bonnets. I do believe that the creative process of sewing one gave me the equivalent joy to her splashing in the backyard!

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DSC_3373We had a really lovely & relaxing 4th of July! I took the kids to the park in the morning for a parade, bouncy house, snow cones, balloon animals, etc. Back home the afternoon, my two highly esteemed berry-snitching batter-licking helpers and I set out to make the most patriotic fruit pizza imaginable. The kind of dessert that makes America so great. (:

While the sugar cookie crust was cooling on the counter, I whipped up the cream cheese frosting and rinsed our favorite fresh-summer berries. Thankfully, barely enough berries survived little Violet’s grazing to decorate the top. Recipe below!

And in true 4th-of-July fashion, we tossed some burgers on the grill, lit a few 2-ft tall fireworks on the sidewalk, ran around with sparklers, and called it a night. I love this simple holiday! It is the epitome of long summer days, outdoor fun, and sweet treats.
DSC_3343 DSC_3345 DSC_3352 DSC_3357DSC_3356 DSC_3368SUGAR COOKIE CRUST:
Beat together:
1 stick of butter, softened
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
Then mix in:
1 1/4c. flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Press dough into pizza stone & bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

Whip together:
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, softened

Spread filling over cooled crust, top with fruit, and chill until dessert time. Enjoy! xo.