Food, family, and fitness... all with a bit of style.

August Book Review

It's the last Thursday of the month & time for my monthly book review!  I am linking up with Narci over at Grace and Love Blog for her monthly Carpool Book Club.  Be sure to check out her blog for all her picks too!!
So I had plans to read a lot of books this month, and somehow only finished 2! I am in the midst of the my third but didn't finish it before my review. We are wrapping up Summer with one last vacation this week... and I have a nice stack to read! 

True Colors by Kristin Hannah. After a slow start, I really enjoyed this book. The story of three sisters, whose mom passes when they are young. They are left to band together as they handle their disgurntled father who is most concerned about the family image. Vivi Ann, the youngest and arguably father's favorite gets invovled with a new guy in the small town. A man with a shaded past...and one tragic night changes their lives forever. It was a sweet story of family and forgiving.
So after reading The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, I had this one on my list. I did not have my expectation set that high, because I didn't love the first one from her. I did like this one better. So many people have mentioned how scary it is, but I did not find it that way. It was the story of several people together to celebrate a bachelorette party in an old glass house near the woods. Leonora is invited, however she has not spoken to the bride in nearly 10 years. As the book progresses, we discover the reason she was invited and the horrible events that happened during the weekend. It kept my interest and it was a quick weekend read.... good, but not great.

If you missed any of our other reviews, you can catch up here.

Any other great books I need to get on my list next month??  Drop your favorites in the comments!
Have a great day and we will see you tomorrow for Friday Favorites. There's always room for one more at our family table.

What's Up Wednesday.... August Edition

Happy Wednesday friends!! It's time to link up with ShayMel and Sheaffer for What's Up Wednesday....May Edition. 
 A fun monthly post where we answer these questions....

What we're eating this week......
I shared our meal plan on Monday. You can check it out here & I will tell you these Grilled Meatball Subs will not disappoint!
What I'm reminiscing about.......
Luke's baseball season. As crazy as it seemed always being at the diamonds, I kind of miss our baseball family. We had a really great team and group of parents.
What I'm loving.....
Summer days & nights on the water....only a few more left and I am loving every one!
What we've been up to......
Being outside, all day, everyday we can!
Making ice cream a weekly priority... 
Getting in a little golf.....
And loving life on the water! 
What I'm dreading....
Packing lunches. I am really not sure why this gets me, but it does. It literally takes about 3 minutes of my day. I just make the kids' sandwiches and they take care of the rest, but something about it feels like I lose an hour of my morning when I have to make those 2 sandwiches. Anyone else with me on this??
What I'm working on......
Back to school shoes, new lunchboxes, dance registration, religion class sign up, new dance shoes, instrument rental....gosh my to-do list seems to be growing! 
What I'm excited about......
Back to school routines, as much as I love the laid back Summer, we are all ready for a little more structure.....and earlier bedtimes!
What I'm watching/reading....
We were so excited to have Ray Donovan start up again, so we have been watching that on Sunday nights.
I will be sharing my book review tomorrow. I finally got around to read this one.
And this is my stack for vacation this week!
What I'm listening to......
Well in case you are living under a rock Taylor Swift released a new single on Friday. It has been on repeat everyday since. Now we are hoping for a tour announcement! We went to see her a few years ago and it was such a great show!
What I'm wearing......
I have really been slacking in fun outfits this month. My weekends have been workout gear, bathing suits, and pjs! Ha!
I am wearing this amazing cream from Philosphy. It has the best scent and makes your skin so buttery soft!
What I'm doing this weekend......
We are on vacation....YAY! We are spending a week at the lake. This is just the perfect end to Summer. Paul's family will be there too for a family reunion. And on Saturday we will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary!!! 
What I'm looking forward to next month.....
Celebrating Ella's 10th Birthday! I cannot believe she will be double digits. She is all about Fixer Upper and DIY so that is the theme of her party. Such a fun idea! #shiplap Last year we went to Hollywood for her party. You can check out all the fun from that party here.
What else is new.....
Luke got to throw the first pitch at a local ball game... so fun!
And these sweet girls organized the most fun night for our neighborhood....a huge kickball game!
And Paul & I have gotten in a few boat nights with friends.
Bonus question.... What are your best back to school lunch ideas/tips?
So I already mentioned that this is what I am dreading this month, so I can't wait to read everyone's tips on this topic!! 
Probably the best tip I have for back to school lunches is to let the kids pack part of their lunch. This has helped a lot in our house. I fill all the water bottles the night before or early morning and keep them in the fridge. I make their sandwich and they do the rest. I have a shelf in the fridge that they can choose from to round our their lunches. Apples, clementines, chopped peppers, snap peas, carrots... I have those all prepped and ready to go so the kids can grab something with their lunch.
They know they have to add some fresh fruit/veggie to their lunch and I feel like they are more excited about it when they get to pack it.
See you tomorrow for our monthly book review!
There's always room for one more at our family table.

Show & Tell Tuesday.... Best Day Ever!

Hi friends!  I am so excited to link up with Andrea over at Momfessionals for Show & Tell Tuesday. Today's topic... Best Day Ever! 
This one is pretty easy...and lucky for me it's kind of my Summer weekend routine! I don't really need anything fancy... a good workout, some relaxing boat time and a good book.
My best day starts with a run with my girlfriend. Most weekends we run a few miles, catch up on our week's happenings, and grab some coffee. It's a great start to my week and would definitely kick off my best day ever. 
Now I know everyone will probably think I am crazy for making this part of my best day, but I love to grocery shop. And in the fun of making this my best day ever, this grocery trip would be in the morning (before it gets busy), I would be myself, and I could spend lots of time wandering the aisles and getting inspired for new dishes to make. 
My afternoon would be spent on the water. Watching my crew have fun in the sun makes me happy.
Then a little relaxing with my guy.
And finish up my day with a late day coffee and good book on the patio.
So while there may not be anything too exciting in my best day ever.... it all sounds just perfect to me!
What would make your day the best ever?? Probably not a trip to the grocery store! Ha! 
If you missed any posts earlier this year..... here are some of our other Show & Tell posts...
Steal & Splurge
See you tomorrow for What's Up Wednesday, there's always room for one more at our family table.

Five Meals for Your Family Table Week 34

Oh my goodness...I cannot believe we are rolling into September this week!! We are spending some time at the lake this week to soak up the last bit of lazy days before my crew goes back to school.
Here are five meal ideas for your family table this week.
Grilled fish is a staple for us in the Summer. Grilled Salmon with fresh pineapple salsa is a little bit of summer on a plate. Simply season the salmon with a drizzle of EVOO, sprinkle with salt & pepper and grill about 5 minutes per side. You can grab the recipe for the salsa here.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!!! I am still in denial that this is the last weekend of  August! I am thankful we are heading out for a week at the lake next week, because I am not ready to say goodbye to Summer. But apparently the stores is like this everywhere I turn......
And as much as I love all the fall things, I am still in Summer mode for a few more weeks!
As always, I am linking up with some of my favorite blogging friends, AndreaNarci, and Erika

Try It Thursday.......Grilled Caprese Meatball Subs

Happy Thursday friends! I am excited to link up with  Allie over at A Gal Named Al to share this yummy recipe.
I came across grilled meatballs somewhere and thought they sounded really good. I created this sandwich using grilled meatballs and they were so good. I will definetely try grilling meatballs in other recipes too!
For the Meatballs
1 lb ground beef
1/2 pound Italian sausage
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg lightly beaten
2 TSP salt
1 TSP pepper 
1 TSP Italian seasoning
Mix all the ingredients together and form into 12 meatballs. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
Brush with EVOO and place on grill. Grill 4-5 minutes on each of 4 sides.
While the meatballs are grilling, layer bun with sliced tomatoes & fresh mozzarella. Place on the grill for a few minutes until cheese melts. 
Add a few basil leaves and 2-3 meatballs to each bun.
Such good flavors in one little sub! My kids dipped theirs in a little pasta sauce too!

Road Trip Tips!

As we gear up for our last Summer getaway, I just want to say that my crew loves a good road trip!

My kids have been travelling in the car since they were babies and they actually prefer it to flying! Although nothing beats how cute two little ones are rolling their suitcases through the airport!
Both Paul & I have fun memories of car time when we were younger. Paul and his family always made the drive to Florida from New York. My family's big road trip was to the lake each year. I remember getting up early to leave and laying down to sleep in the big, blue station wagon! Good road trips lead to fun stories!
So as we get ready to head out (on a short road trip), I thought I would share some of my road trip tips!
A few things to always have on hand in the car.
1. Roll of Paper Towels
2. Wipes... to wipe your hands... wipe a spill....just have wipes!
3. Bags... for trash, stuff, or the dreaded "Mom I don't feel so good".....have bags on hand.
4. Tissues
5. Ibuprofen, Dramamine, Band-Aids
6. Plastic cups & Sandwich Bags perfect for doling out snacks or holding toys pieces/parts. I always bring along some assorted plastic utensils too.

So let's be honest, the highlight of the road trip is the snacks along the way!
 There are a few tips I want to share on car snacks. Let me start by saying mine may look different than most for two reasons.
1.My husband's car is off limits to all food and drink every other time of the year. #noimnotkidding
Even as babies... no snacks in the car. If you start to show signs of dehydration, water may be offered, but otherwise his car is not a snackbar. It's just how it kids understand this... I understand this... my friends understand this. Ok..maybe understand is a bit rash...we accept it. My car is a slightly different story.
2. I try to keep healthier snacks on hand for a few reasons... I don't like to feel like junk because I ate junk....I don't need the sugar rush and the sugar crash from the kids.
Now that I have my disclaimers out of the way, this is what we packed for our 20 hour road trip to Florida last time....
You probably think we have enough food for weeks....we do always have extra, and that we eat the first few days of vacation. I guess I like to have choices.
These are a few of our road trip favorites.
Fruits- apples, grapes and clementines. Apples are a quick easy snack, I have the grapes all washed, and the clementines peeled and bagged.
Veggies- cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, carrot sticks and sliced bell peppers are some of our favorites. I sometimes bring individual servings of hummus or guacamole for dipping.
Cheesesticks, yogurt and hard-boiled eggs all make great snacks too!
We bring some sort of nut, usually cashews, and some pretzel sticks.
For drinks it's just bottled water and seltzer. 
The Swedish Fish are a a road trip necessity in our book!
We usually get on the road pretty early... like 4.30-5am, and the kids will sleep the first few hours.
They will snack on some fruit and then we stop for a bigger breakfast mid-morning. We try to snack throughout the day and then stop one more time to eat a later dinner around 7 or 8.
My little secret is a gas station stop late afternoon. I let the kids pick out one snack of their choice and it is usually something very random and something I would not normally buy at home. And it may just be the highlight of their trip! They had their first and last Pop Tart at a gas station in North Carolina a few years ago... they were not fans.
As far as entertainment we do a few things. First, we always take a trip to Barnes & Noble before we leave. Everybody gets a few new books or magazines for the ride. 
When they were younger, they loved sticker books! Those occupied them for hours! Next up is some new movies. I like to check the local library or the $5 movie sections at Target. Another thing I have done on the return trip is grabbed a movie at Redbox where we were visiting and can just return it when we get home. A couple fresh coloring books or paper and my crew is pretty set to travel. Of course the license plate game is always good to pass the time!
So there you have it. We keep it pretty simple and try to make it more of an adventure than a "ugh we have to drive 20 hours". 
Here's to lots more road trips & memories with my crew!
See you tomorrow, there's always room for one more at our family table.

Weekend Wrap Up....First Pitch!

Hi friends! I am not exactly sure where last weekend went...but it was a fun one! Here's a peek at what we did! 
Friday was the much anticipated release from the kids' school on who their teacher would be this year. To say they were excited is an understatement! And to make it an even longer day as we waited, the school blocked access to the parent portal until 3:30pm! Here they are squeezing each other in anticipation!

Five Meals for Your Family Table....Week 33

Oh hey there Monday! Gosh for what I thought was a not too crazy weekend, this one sure got away from me! We are working on updating the look of the blog....hoping to have it all completed soon! Cannot believe we are in the last full week of August! Not ready to let go of Summer, so this week we have some Summer favorites on the menu for dinner.
We have got to get in another clambake before the Summer comes to an end, so we are kicking off our week with clams! Assemble some packets, toss on the grill and dinner is a quick cleanup too! I add about 12 littleneck clams, an ear of corn (cut in half) a few slices of sausage, and some parboiled red potatoes to a sheet of foil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and add 1/4 cup of beer and close the packet. Sometimes you need to double wrap so they don't leak. I usually make 
4 packets. Heat on a high grill for 15-20 minutes, or until the clams begin to open. The perfect Summer dinner!

Grilled Salmon Tacos

I love tacos! I mean I could probably eat tacos nearly I love to switch it up. These salmon tacos get a great flavor kick with a simple sauce.

Friday Favorites....Fun Surprises!

Happy Friday!!! We had a couple fun surprises this week that helped make a fairly ordinary week pretty fun!!
As always, I am linking up with some of my favorite blogging friends, AndreaNarci, and Erika

Weekend Wrap Up......Summer Fun!

Well let me say, you know it was a fun weekend when you try a third cup of coffee come Monday afternoon! 
Friday night the kids were planning a sleepover at my parents, so Paul and I met some friends down by the water. We grabbed a bite eat and then went over to one of the restaurants at our marina. They were hosting a Poker Run that weekend and there were some pretty wild boats coming in.  There were lots of people there to check out the boats.

Show & Tell Tuesday.....Guilty Pleasures

Hi friends!  I am so excited to link up with Andrea over at Momfessionals for Show & Tell Tuesday. Today's topic... Guilty Pleasures! Sharing things you love so much....but maybe shouldn't. So fun!
Now let's just be open when reading this post ....this is a no judge zone! Fun little things that maybe shouldn't make me so happy, but gosh they do. 

Five Meals for Your Family Table.....Week 32

After a fun, but busy Summer weekend the last thing I want to do is think about what to make for dinner! Luckily our meal plan is all set with some great tastes of Summer to put on your family table this week!

Italian Sausage Sheet Pan Supper

This meal will be a favorite of yours for sure, for two reasons....
One, it comes together in less than 30 minutes.
Two, it's all made in one pan....easy clean up!
1 lb Italian Chicken Sausage, sliced into bite sized pieces
2-3 bell peppers cut into thin strips
Medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 lb baby red potatoes (quartered)
Salt & Pepper
Line a large sheet pan with foil and arrange the potatoes, sausage, onion and peppers. Drizzle with salt, pepper and EVOO.
Toss everything together.
Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes, tossing halfway through, until the potatoes are fork tender. 
Dinner is done!
It's kind of like a deconstructed sausage hoagie!

Friday Favorites....Where did the week go??

Happy Friday friends! Somehow another week has gone by and I am not sure how???  It was not too crazy of a week, but for some reason last night this is how I felt....
Tired....just tired. This week just kind of got away from me, so it's a short & sweet edition of Friday Favorites.
As always, I am linking up with some of my favorite blogging friends, AndreaNarci, and Erika
I am telling you.....this boy & his golf gear just never gets old to me.
I mean the shoes, the clubs, the visor.... it is just the cutest! And then when he is walking up the hill with his coach after lessons....gosh I just love everything about golf!
This girl started phase one of enhancing her already perfect smile, with an expander. She was so nervous to get it on, but was a trooper and gave two thumbs up when all was said and done.
 But the next day she said her mouth was sore.....and frozen yogurt fixed that real quick!
I can't believe I did two back to school posts this week! I am still all about Summer and lucky for us we don't go back until September 6th.
I did have fun looking back at some first day pics!
Well that about wraps it up for our very quiet first full week of August!
Looking forward to a night out with friends tonight and hopefully lots of time out on the water!
Have the best weekend!
See you on Monday....there's always room for one more at our family table.

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