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Three southern sisters who share family traditions, our favorite recipes, craft and DIY ideas, decorating projects, beauty tips, our love of vintage, and our lives with you.

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My Week in Pictures: May 25, 2018

Friday, May 25, 2018

Well. it's certainly been awhile since I have done a "My Week in Pictures" post but it would seem that we have had a lot going on lately, and have a lot of pictures to prove it.  So I thought I would resurrect this column for a few weeks and see how it goes.  As in the past, I am posting this on a Friday and the "week" that you see here actually started at the end of last week, and continued through today.   

So, here we go...

Late last week, our Babydoll finished up her first year of preschool.  What a milestone!  She started back in August at the grand old age of 3, and finished as a big girl at the ripe old age of 4.  Here she is on Day One back in August.  


Full of spirit and ready to go!


She has made so many little friends at school this year, and loves her teachers and all the activities they do in class.  What a wonderful experience this has been for us all.  Here are some of her very first school pictures, taken last fall, when she was right at 3 1/2 years old. 


And the books she is "reading" below are actually our books.  We sent in some of her favorites to use as props.  And this picture turned out to be one of my favorites for that very reason. 


Fast forward (literally) to the Spring of 2018, and our Lexi girl had another set of school pictures.  Here she is almost 4 years old. 



And here she was last week on her very last day of school.  When we were just starting her school year for the very first time, someone (I can't remember who now) told me to save whatever she wore on her first day and then wear it again on the last day.  I can't believe I remembered to do it, but I did!  And what a wonderful tip.  It's a great visual reminder of how much they have grown over the course of the school year!


In Lexi's case, she grew 2 1/2 inches since last August and this little dress won't work for very much longer, I'm afraid.  She's also wearing the same bow and shoes as she did on the first day.  The shoes just barely fit now, and will have to be replaced with a shiny new pair for next school year. Thank goodness bows always fit!


Her class partied their last day away.  Here she is with quite a few (boy)friends enjoying popsicles for snack that day.


Last weekend, the rodeo made their annual stop in our town, and we decided to take Lexi for the first time to see how she enjoyed it.  Here we all are as we made our way up to the gates.  You could hear fiddle players playing outside as we walked up.  So we knew we were in for a treat!



Babydoll got all dolled up for the rodeo in her red gingham dress.



And matching red cowgirl boots. 


And then it was off to the races!  Lexi has loved pony rides since she was a wee lass.  And just look at her now.  Still loving on those ponies!


Oh, but she had her sights set on much bigger things.  From the moment she spied the mechanical bull, she wanted to ride it.  I definitely wasn't so sure and once we saw the line, I didn't think she would go for it either.  But Lexi would not be deterred.  She was all business.  Check out that game face.   I told the operator to take it easy on her and he did.  Thank goodness.  But when the ride was over she was upset that she didn't get thrown off like all the others before her had.  Can you say daredevil?




Once the rodeo action began, Lexi was honestly more interested in eating popcorn than watching the show.  Oh well, she kicked her little feet up for a while to watch the calf roping and bronco riding.  That action was so fast paced, I couldn't get pics that weren't a blur. But it was super fun to watch. 


This lovely lady was a trick rider and I actually managed a few pictures of her and her fabulous horses. Here she is riding two horses at once, barefoot, and standing atop them both. WOW!!  She even added a third horse in the middle at one point.  Amazing! 


Saturday night brought our annual Crawfish in the Cul de Sac block party.  Every year this party gets a little bigger, and it's always so much fun.  The kids play.  The adults chat.  We all catch up and eat.  To me, this get together will always signal the unofficial start to summer. 


As the sun gets a little lower in the sky, the low country boil gets spread out for all to enjoy. 


We always pull out our popcorn machine for the kids (and big kids) to enjoy. Here's Lexi and one of her friends giving us a not-so-subtle hint that they are ready to get the popcorn popping. 


Babydoll donned her little crab outfit.  It's the closest to a crawfish outfit I could find.  Incidentally, she just got this scooter and she spent a big chunk of the evening scooting all over the cul de sac with her friends.  I'm pretty sure she tuckered herself out, as you can see here. 


At some point in the 8 o'clock hour, the sky rumbled a bit of thunder and people started clearing out left and right.  Those of us that actually live in the cul de sac didn't have far to go, obviously, so we took the time to pull up the radar, and we soon realized that there weren't any storms threatening us after all.  So we decided to keep the party going.  Here I am with some of my wonderful friends and neighbors.  


We even summoned several of the neighborhood ladies back and ended up staying up far far too late after all the kiddos were down for the count- chatting about a little bit of everything under the stars.  The men folk were around somewhere too, but by the end of the night, we were ready to sit and relax a bit.  We had such a nice time, and thankfully the weather cooperated after all. 


That same day across the pond, there was an intimate wedding ceremony between a lovely couple- an Englishman and an American actress.  It received a little media attention that day.  Did you happen to hear about it?  :)  In any case, this was my attempt at Meghan's wedding day hairdo.  I think it needed a tiara, don't you?


By the beginning of this week, Lexi slipped into her new vintage Bambi dress that Aunt Donna made for her birthday, and we took a few pictures of that pretty dress in action.   In case you haven't seen the full blog post about how to make a dress like this, here's the link for you





Did I mention that Lexi loves to swing?  She could literally do just that ALL DAY LONG!!  



Earlier this week, I also blogged about a new-to-me recipe/ cooking app called Mealime.  It houses a ton a simple and healthy meal plan recipes, and it has me so excited to prepare dinner for my family each night.  Here's the link to the full blog post in case you haven't seen it yet.   This was dinner that I whipped up on Monday night- fish tacos- made with fresh halibut, homemade slaw, and homemade guacamole.  It was so yummy!



After dinner, it was off through the neighborhood for a little golf cart ride.  Lexi likes to bring a couple toys along to play with once we get to the neighborhood ponds. 


I like to bring a little vino along for the same.  :)


We keep a couple bottles of bubbles in the console of our golf cart so we can see to the business of blowing and popping bubbles at a moment's notice.  It's the little things. 


By midweek this week, I was back in the kitchen with another fabulous Mealime meal.  This time it was a grilled Ribeye with a tomato, corn, and avocado salad.  I cannot say enough how good these meals are, and how easy- beginning to end about 35 minutes in the kitchen. 


Then it was a little time in the yard to see how our plants are coming along.  We were late planting this year.  We had a super late frost date this spring, and then we left for vacation.  By the time we came back home, it was firmly in the 80s every day and definitely time to get planting.   Here are my shamrocks and a few herbs.  I bought those shamrocks on St. Patrick's Day this year, and they have at least doubled in size already. 


We have most of our potted plants already planted for the season, and they are starting to take off now.  Hoping to get it all finished over the upcoming holiday weekend.  That little flamingo watering can was a Target dollar bin find!


We also got the waterfall on the pond fired up again this week.  John cleaned the pond over the weekend and the fish are all happy (and healthy) and eating us out of house and home once again. Life is good. 


As the first week of Lexi being home on summer break, I thought we would be a lot busier, but as it turned out, she has had a couple of low key days- not quite under the weather but also not quite herself. So we are making a bit of a slow entry in our summer break together.  All is well.  When life gives you rain, it's usually followed by rainbows- or at least pretty blooms from the garden.  Lexi felt much better today and helped me clip these lovelies to bring in from our rose garden. 



The Harris Sisters have been in constant contact these past few weeks as we prepare for our annual Girls' Weekend.  Much more on that to come. And today kicks off the long Memorial Day weekend, which looks to be a bit rainy in these parts.  But it will be nice to have some unhurried family time together no matter the weather.  I hope you all enjoy your long weekend ahead too.  Be well, friends. 
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Get Cooking with Mealime

Monday, May 21, 2018

Yall, I have discovered a game changing app/ Website for those of us who are shall-we-say "challenged" in the kitchen.  Or even those of you who struggle to come up with new meal ideas.  It's called Mealime, and it coins itself as the app for simple and healthy meal plans.  This app has literally converted me from someone who knew nothing in the kitchen to someone who is cooking up fabulous and healthy meals for my family every night.  I am so excited to fill my grocery cart with fresh produce and meats each week, and know that they will turn into yummy meals that we all enjoy!  Read on for lots more...



So, I discovered this app only after I had tried a couple of meal prep services.  You knows the ones- where you pick your meals for the week and the service then ships you pre-measured ingredients and full instructions for how to complete each meal.  I LOVE these plans.  They are so simple and the recipes are yummy and easy to complete.  However, the prices on some of these services is probably more than I would normally spend if I were just buying my own groceries.  And I have the time to grocery shop so that's not really an issue.  I just needed the step-by-step instructions and a great arsenal of recipe options.  Enter Mealime to the rescue!

I literally went from someone who had maybe two go-to meals to having a world of fun and new and different meal plans at my fingertips.  Oh, and these meal plans are an entire meal, not just a main dish or a side that leaves you wondering what to put with it.  It's all pre-planned out and the foods are so different and so good! Not only that, but this app prepares your entire grocery list for you, allowing you to edit it by removing items that you already have in your kitchen or by adding other items to your grocery list that may not be a part of the recipes you have chosen for the week.  So I can still add my coffee, milk, bread, and all the other usual stuff to the shopping list I created in my Mealime app.



So, here's how it works.  You log into the Mealime app, and it pulls up hundreds of recipes for you.  You can filter your results if you are looking for or avoiding specific types of foods.  Most recipes take between 30-40 minutes to complete from beginning to end.  And as someone who has tried lots of them over the past month or so, I can vouch that they are all really good. You can click on individual recipes to check them out but once you decide to add one (or more) to your meal plan for the coming week, you simply click on the button that says "Add to Meal Plan."  I usually do this at some point on Sunday afternoon.




Once I have all my meals added to my plan for the coming week, the app shows me all of my recipes in my meal plan for the week, as well as a complete grocery list.  I go through the grocery list and then take out items that I already have in my pantry, and add any other items I need to pick up while I'm at the store.  The grocery list in the Mealime app is sorted by produce, bakery, meats/ seafood, dairy/ cheese/ eggs, and so forth which keeps it super easy to navigate through your list while you are shopping.  You simply click on the items on your list to cross them off.  I typically do my grocery shopping on Monday each week.

Once I'm ready to prepare one of the meals, I pull my app back up, and click on that meal.  It provides step-by-step instructions on how to complete the recipe.  Mealime gets bonus points from me for making sure that all components of my meal finish cooking at the same time so everything is hot and ready to serve at the end of about 40 minutes.  Once I've finished making one of the meals, I can "favorite" it if I really liked it so I can come back to it again.  I also check it off in the app, that that meal is complete for the week, and it grays it out, showing only the other active meals remaining in my meal plan.

Here's a look at some of what I've been cooking up...

Shrimp Stirfry

Grilled Chicken with Mango and Red Pepper Salad
I'm so not kidding.  This app has changed my life!  And I'm sure my family is thankful for this little tool too.  :)  The basic app is free of charge to use.  However, there is an option to upgrade the service to Mealime Pro which unlocks a bunch of additional recipes and allows you to do things like make notes in the app about the recipes you made. Currently, the Pro service costs $5.99 per month or $49.99 for an annual subscription.  So far, I am doing great with just the free app.  There appear to be lots of new recipes added each time I use the app.  I might consider upgrading to Mealime Pro at some point, but for now, I'm cruising along just fine.

NY Strip with Homemade Mashed Potatoes and the BEST Wilted Spinach EVER

Caprese Salad

What else?  Let's see. You can customize your experience by choosing the types of food you like or things that you dislike.  For example, in my app I checked off things like capers, lamb, olives, and tofu for ingredients that I dislike.  I also selected a meal size of 2 servings, which I have found is more than a plenty for me and my husband with some left for our 4 year old to try things as well.  There is also an option for 4 serving meal sizes.  There is a support center and a ton of articles submitted by the online community (which are all housed in the app).  You can also email Mealime directly through the app with any questions you have.  But honestly, it is so easy to use that even a kitchen novice like me can figure it out.  So I will be willing to bet that most of you would find it super easy peasy too.

Strip Steak Fajitas on Lettuce Wraps with Homemade Guacamole

To find the Mealime app, just go to your App Store and download it to your device.  I actually put the app on my iPad first because I usually use the iPad in the kitchen to reference my recipes.  But I quickly figured out I needed the app on my phone too when I am at the grocery store to reference the grocery lists it creates for me.  As I said, the basic app is free, and totally where I would start with Mealime.  If you decide you love it as much as I do, you might consider upgrading to the Pro version down the road.  You can actually also access all your information, including your recipes, meal plans, grocery lists, and your preferences from Mealime.com.  So if you have a computer or laptop in your kitchen, you can use the website to get cooking too. I hope you will give this tool a try.  It's the best thing I've found lately, and I'm loving it.  
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One Man's Trash: DIY Vintage Pillowcase Dress

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Well, little Miss Lexi has recently had a birthday, so it's safe to post this year's birthday craft project for you to see!

I usually hand make a gift for her, and in year's past, it has always been a crochet project. 

In today's edition of One Man's Trash, I wanted to share how to sew a pillowcase dress from a vintage pillowcase.



If you've never seen or heard of a pillowcase dress, you can often find these little dresses in boutiques, but they're also very easy to sew yourself.

The inspiration for this project was a set of three vintage Bambi pillowcases that I found at my favorite thrift store. Vintage sheets and pillowcases are easy to find at thrift stores, but these are by far the cutest I've seen.



While Bambi was released in theaters in 1942, it appears that these pillowcases, which are marked Walt Disney Productions, are from the 1970's and were made by Sears Roebuck and Co.


Even though these pillowcases are approaching 50 years old, the colors were still vivid and they feature Bambi, his mom, and his forest friends Thumper, Flower, Owl, and more. This find was too good to pass up!

If you're not an accomplished seamstress, this is the perfect starter project for you. I do not consider myself a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, but this dress was easy to sew!

Materials You Need for a Vintage Pillowcase Dress

  • 1 vintage pillowcase
  • 76 inches of double fold bias tape in a matching or coordinating color
  • thread in a matching color
  • 12 inches of 1/4" elastic
  • trim (if desired)
  • cutting mat
  • rotary cutter or scissors
  • straight pins
  • 1 safety pin
  • iron
  • sewing machine

Once you've gathered all of your materials, it's easy to sew the entire dress in one afternoon. 

I used this Vintage Pillowcase Dress Tutorial (which includes a pattern for the arm holes), and the process couldn't have been easier.

And the bonus for this particular pillowcase is that the vintage Disney graphics look adorable on both the front and the back! So charming!


And here's a few photos of Miss Lexi wearing her new (vintage) dress. Just too cute!


And Thumper approves too!

Notes:


Wider bias tape will be easier to use if this is your first pillowcase dress.

If you think this project can't be easier and you want to make a few more to donate, Little Dresses for Africa is accepting donations of pillowcase dresses.

This post contains affiliate links.



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