For Your Weekend | First Official Weekend of Summer Edition

For Your Weekend | First Official Weekend of Summer Edition

Unexpected treasure discovered on a recent morning walk


Hello Summer (officially)!

Although we’ve been experiencing weather here in southern Kentucky more like the dog days of summer than the first bloom of summer, I’m still greeting it with a huge grin, because summer!   

I hope y’all are keeping cool and chill in your neck of the woods!  Here are some fab weekend links for you to peruse as you hangout poolside!

LOL for all Christians
 
The Babylon Bee
Oh my. I stumbled upon this website via Twitter this week and I believe it may be another means of grace!  As its tag line states “The Babylon Bee is Your Trusted Source for Christian News Satire”.  I laughed until I cried. I don’t know who’s behind this satirical website on all things Christian, but bravo, bravo #allthepraisehands !!
I heart QEII!!

Queen Elizabeth II Classed Up Twitter

I love all things British.  I love Queen Elizabeth II (QE II).  I love Twitter.  So I especially loved that QE II tweeted her first official tweet this week and as you might expect, her tweet was very proper and adorable!

I mean, digital messages! #slayed

A Mother’s Prayer for Teens

Parenting is hard.  Parenting a teen is not for the weak.  To help you in your teenage parenting journey, I give you Jen Hatmaker’s concise perfect prayer:

We pray in agreement, dear Lord…


Mary DeMuth’s article on Predators
Mary DeMuth’s article on 13 Traits of Predatory People should be required reading. Predators aren’t always child molesters or physical abusers.  Predators can be verbally and psychologically abusive as well. This list is insightful and spot on.  

I’d love to hear what’s making you laugh or think this week!  Join me in the comments to keep the conversation going!

7 Essential Items to Take to the Beach

7 Essential Items to Take to the Beach

Nothing like waking up to a beautiful day at the beach!!
 
School’s out and it’s time for summer vacation!  For many families their vacation includes a trip to the beach. 

While enjoyable, a beach trip requires some extra packing. It sometimes seems like I pack everything into the minivan, including the kitchen sink!

Over the years, we have traded the 13 hour grueling car trip for  a plane trip (thank you Southwest companion passes!) and thus have whittled down my must-haves for a beach vacay. 

So, by all means bring your beach chairs, boogie boards and beach umbrellas, but if you’re traveling light…here’s what gets me through a beach week!

One important reminder…sunscreen is always on my list, and I generously slather that stuff on all day long!

image via Bed, Bath & Beyond

1. Bed, Bath and Beyond Lounge Chair Towel
Let’s  be real.  While the beach is fun, I prefer to lounge poolside while reading a great book!  This towel is life changing!  It’s super long, super comfy and  it has a hemmed “pocket” that slips over the top of most lounge chairs to keep your towel from blowing or sliding around!  

Priced at $19.99 it’s well worth the price, plus use your Bed Bath & Beyond 20% coupon or $5 coupon to get an even better deal!

Big enough to help you take an afternoon siesta!

2.  Target One Spot $5 Hat

What trip to Target doesn’t include a drive by the One Spot?  I had spied this hat earlier in the year but hesitated. As you might know, the One Spot’s inventory changes weekly, so I regretted I didn’t snag it. 

Thankfully, right before our trip Target had restocked these fabulous hats perfect for the beach! For five dollars

If you spy this hat at your local Target One Spot…buy it!  It travels well and is sturdy enough to not get blown about on breezy beach days!

happy shady lady wearing $5 hat, reader sunnies & rash guard top
 
3. Reader Sunglasses
Yes, I’m now at an age where I must wear readers.  I absolutely love my Kate Spade reader sunglasses because unlike a lot of reader sunglasses, you can order your specific strength. 
Similar style image via Amazon
 
I’ve had my sunnies for three years and they’re still going strong!  I recently spied fashionable, reasonably priced, different strength reader sunglasses at Sam’s Club!
So cute , so many selections and on sale! image via Land’s End
 

4. Land’s End Rash Guard Swim Shirt

No matter how much sunscreen I slather on, I usually get too pink around my straps and shoulders. A rash guard is your best friend!  I always throw one in my beach bag and when I feel like I’ve gotten too much sun or want to dip in the ocean I slip this on. 

Be sure to look for the American Cancer Society seal and for an SPF rating. The Land’s End rash guards have both and with a  50 SPF rating.  Thankfully cute rash guards are becoming  easier to find.  I’ve even seen them at Old Navy. 

A classic! image via Amazon
 
5. A 24 oz Tervis Tumbler

I know Yeti tumblers are all the rage these days, but I love the 24 oz size of a Tervis Tumbler and the price!  Tervis tumblers are lightweight to pack but heavy enough not to tip over in the sand or poolside!  

Another lifechanging product! image via Baggu
 
6. Baggu Reusable Folding Bag

I love all the cute beach totes. Seriously. All of them!  But they are a pain to fly with and said cute beach totes accumulate copious amounts of sand. 

If you haven’t yet discovered Baggu reusable bags order them today!  Besides having fun graphic designs, they are lightweight but tough nylon, fold down next to nothing and hold a boatload of stuff 

I’ve had my Baggu bags for over 3 years now and they still look brand new. I use mine all the time for grocery shopping. Anyway, this year I brought them with me and used one as a beach bag all week. Life changing!

Besides holding all my stuff, at the end of the week I shook the bag out and all the sand came out! Miraculous!

Lingerie Drying Rack for Wet Swimsuits! image via The Container Store

  
7. The Container Store Lingerie Drying Rack
Confession time… I have forgotten this foldable packable drying rack the last few beach trips!  And every time when its time to hang up dripping wet swim suits I groan!

Yes, I made it through drippy wet swimsuits without this drying rack, but having this is so much easier!   This rack works well with bikini bottoms and tops and can easily hang in the shower.  

Hopefully with this post I will not forget it next time!!!

So there’s my 7 must have items for the beach!  What’s on your essential beach list?  I’d love to hear!  Share in the comments!

For Your Weekend | School’s Out Edition

For Your Weekend | School’s Out Edition

Sweet Summer is upon us!
 
Yes!!! Students shouted all across schools in the US as they finally reach the last day.  

Help!!

Almost simultaneously yelled by parents everywhere upon the reality that school’s out for summer!

Don’t panic…here’s a great linkup to help ease both you and your kids into summertime!

Enjoy the blue skies!
And, most importantly this summer, eat the cake!!! 

There is a scrumptious German chocolate cake underneath the whipped cream!!
      How to Enjoy and Challenge Yourself this June

      How to Enjoy and Challenge Yourself this June

      Hello, June…Hello, Summer!

      June is one of my favorite months!  Besides marking the halfway point of the year, June also just happens to be my birthday month!

      School’s over, Summer starts and the day’s rhythm changes. If I’m not careful, I’ll either tilt too far into inertia or over schedule my summer days. Neither is good. 

      Knowing myself, I’m creating and challenging myself with a June Bucket List to try and balance these two extremes. On this list I’m challenging myself in following categories:

      • Resting
      • Creating
      • Listening
      • Reading
      • Giving

      I like these categories because each provides a space for an area in my life I need pay and give attention to. While bucket lists are fun, I find it sometimes stresses me out to create and check off all the “fun” activities. 

          June Bucket List

          1. Resting| Unplug at the Beach

            Sea, Salt Water & Sunrises

            We travel a lot, but this trip is special because once we get to the beach, we unplug and chill for the week. No outlet mall shopping, no amusement park or mini golf games, just a stack of books, grilling meals and walks to the pier and back. 

            2. Creating | #LetteritJune Challenge

            So much fun to practice and see other’s work!

            Have you noticed you become better at a skill the more you practice it?  I love calligraphy and Jenny Highsmith  provides a monthly lettering prompt for all to join and practice their skills. 

            I love seeing others’ interpretation of a quote or phrase and I love trying out new styles or techniques. You can follow Jenny here on her InstaGram and you track my #letteritjune progress here on Oak Grove Social’s InstaGram. 

            3.  Listening | 7 Days of Still Moments

            image via emilypfreeman.com

            If you’ve read any of my posts it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan girl of author Emily P. Freeman. 

            Emily recently published on her blog this post and her thoughts and feeling about hearing God’s Word read aloud during worship resonates deeply with me. 

            I miss hearing God’s Word during the more contemporary worship service I attend. Emily is offering a free 7 Day Still Moments audio that comes into your email box. 

            In these 7 still moments Emily invites the listener to intentionally listen and then reflect on the questions. You can sign up to receive the 7 audio files here

            After finishing this 7 day still moments, I plan to continue to read aloud Scripture and then spend time reflecting on the Scripture for the rest of June. 

            4. Reading | June Library Haul

            Recommended by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy

            Poolside and beach reading are the ultimate indulgence!  I’ve already shared the Summer Reading Guide link here and am challenged to read my way through this stack in June!

            5.  Giving | A Surprise

            Strawberries are the best!
            It’s my birthday month and I’ve been given so much that this year I’d like to give. During June I’ll be giving in small ways to others.  

            I won’t be sharing it here, but it will be a daily focus on giving to others in celebration of my birthday!  It’s so much fun to do random acts of kindness as well as just give someone an unexpected gift of time, food or something handmade. 

            How do you celebrate June and Summer?  Do you have summer bucket list?  I’d love to know what you’re planning on accomplishing this month!  Join me in the comments!


            For Your Weekend | Memorial Day Weekend Edition

            For Your Weekend | Memorial Day Weekend Edition

            Before we celebrate a three day weekend, let’s stop and remember why we have this upcoming Monday  holiday. 

            Many soldiers over our nation’s history have given their lives for our freedom. If you’re ever in Washington, DC, make time to visit Arlington National Cemetery.  There’s a Metro stop right at its entrance. 

            I’ve visited Arlington several times.  I’m never quite fully prepared for the physical sight of acres of white soldiers’ tombstones on gently rolling hills. 

            While often used as a set backdrop, these tombstones are real.  And more likely than not, you’ll come across a funeral in progress, a sobering reminder that soldiers are still dying for our freedom. 

            So pray for those families who have lost their family member. Give thanks for our freedom. 

            The Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery
            So enjoy our freedom and celebrate it.

            Here are your weekend links!

            Summer offically begins with a stack of awesome books!

            I religiously read Anne Bogel’s blog  Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Anne publishes a summer reading guide and I love her recommendations! 

            Grab your own copy of her 2016 Summer Reading Guide here.  

            Help Parenting Teenagers!  Last week I tipped y’all off to a new favorite podcast, The Lazy Genius, and I have to highlight an episode I listened to this week about parenting teens.

            Kendra chatted with Meg Duerksen for almost 90 minutes about dealing with a rebellious teen. I loved this real, encouraging conversation that parents need to hear! I’m so glad Kendra didn’t cut off the conversation at 30 minutes.  Just real honest advice from a mom of five who’s lived it and living through it still. 

            Coldplay’s on Snapchat!

            end of Coldplay’s concert in Barcelona

            I’m a Snapchat junkie, goofing with their silly filters more than a grown woman should be!

            Exhibit 1: My abuse of Snapchat !

            When I found out this week that Coldplay is on Snapchat and documenting their stadium concerts, I flipped out!  If you love Snapchat and Coldplay, you’ll flip too!
            Hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

            Monday Motivation | Eternally Encouraging

            Monday Motivation | Eternally Encouraging

            It’s Monday, again.

            Monday…again.

            Your freshly built weekend optimism has dissolved. 

            But there is One who strengthens, offers good hope and eternally encourages us

            Jesus.  

            So if you’re at the end of your motivation, turn to the One who encourages.

            Jesus, 

            We need You…especially on Mondays.

            Strengthen our minds.

            Strengthen our hearts.

            Strengthen our spirits.

            Help us accept Your good hope.

            Help us receive Your encouragement…Your eternal encouragement.

            Help us as we move in Your strength to do good deeds and speak good words so we may shine like the sun.

            Amen

            Shine on!

            For Your Weekend | Mid May Edition

            For Your Weekend | Mid May Edition

            Around here, it’s time for graduations!

            Graduation time again!
            So here a few quick

            links to help you between the end of year activities, recitals, concerts, graduations, proms and field days!

            Jen Hatmaker’s husband has written a new book!

            This book speaks to what your heart needs to hear!

            Brandon Hatmaker’s book A Mile Wide launches September 13th, but you can preorder it here.

            Ai Weiwei’s Instagram

            Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist and political activist. I was first blown away by his work several years ago when I saw his exhibit “According to What?” At the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC.

            Ai Weiwei’s art provokes strong emotions…

            I love following his Instagram. Lately, he’s been in Greece documenting the Syrian refugee crisis as well as his new exhibit..

            A riff on his famous photo of breaking a Ming vase

            Whether you agree with his political view is beside the point.  Ai Weiwei is genius for making his art make the viewer react and think. 

            The Lazy Genius Podcast

            So much fun!

            Podcasts are a must during drive/chore/exercise time and Kendra Adachi’s Lazy Genius makes all of these so much better!  I love her mantra “Be genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t.”

            What’s getting you through the last of school activities?

            Take the Brazen Path

            Take the Brazen Path

            Brazen by Leeana Tankersley came my way by being selected as a member of the Brazen launch team. Honestly, I had never heard of Leanna Tankersley before, much less read any of her two previous books.

            Brazen by Leeana Tankersley
             

            But then I read Brazen.  Oh. My. Stars. Brazen has been the perfect gift at precisely the right moment in my life. 

            Leeana Tankersley is your cheerleader. She’s for you and she points you to the Creator…your biggest cheerleader.

            God’s beauty in creation demands attention! The beauty He created in you demands even more so!

            If you’ve ever felt beaten down by the soul bullies (Leeana describes them as those inner negative voices streaming in your thoughts) Brazen is the book for you.

            Reading Brazen was like sitting down with my best friend over coffee, sharing our lives and saying, “Yes, I’m feeling that way too.”

            Not only does Leeana identify the areas of your neglected creative soul, but she points you to a path of discovery to take those beige soul areas and reclaim your right to brazenly shine forth in full color as God created you to be!

            Shine forth!

            Last year, I had given up on our front bed azaleas.  One shrub looked as if it had died while the other only halfway bloomed. I cut them both back hard thinking that act might mercifully finish them off. 

            Imagine my surprise, when pulling up to our home after spring break, our azaleas had doubled both in size and bloom and were brazenly displaying the hottest pink fuchsia blooms ever seen.

            Brazenly blooming!

            Thank you God and Leeana for reminding me that after the hardest cuts, the most brazen beauty will emerge.

            Reading Brazen was like water to my parched soul. While there’s so much more within Brazen I wish for you to discover for yourself, this quote sums up my experience reading Brazen:

            I believe God wants us to make peace with our woundedness, and that’s the journey I’ve been on…we need to welcome our brokenness, but also our belovedness.  This is the brazen path.

            -Leeana Tankersley | Brazen, p. 111

            You are beloved in your brokenness. Take the Brazen  path!

            Holy Guacamole Baked Appetizers

            Holy Guacamole Baked Appetizers

             Happy Monday peeps!  

            Truly life changing in the most beautiful way!
             

            If you follow me on InstaGram , you’ll notice I’ve been a traveling fool lately. I owe y’all umpteen traveling posts.

            But until then, let me share a food gem from my most recent travels to Corpus Christi, Texas.

            I love all things Tex-Mex, even though this gringo can’t go beyond “mild” in Texas heat ratings. We had a lovely stay on the beach and dined twice at Fajitaville on the Beach.  Doesn’t that sound like fun restaurant?  They even have a Ferris wheel!

            Besides amazing fajitas, we enjoyed their Guac & Rolls as appetizers, thanks to the generous coupon we found on Restaurant.com .  Fajitaville’s Guac & Rolls were delicious but they were fried…and while okay for a Spring Break trip, not so good in everyday living.   But I was determined to recreate these rolls…baked!

            If you’re not near Fajitaville to grab some of their Guac & Rolls or you’re trying to avoid fried food, these Holy Guacamole Baked Appetizers will fit the bill!

            These apps are super easy and will make you the star of your next party/cook out/family meal! 

            Also, big shout out to Nasoya All-Natural Won Ton Wraps for instructions on how to properly wrap a won ton wrapper! #foodorigami

            I remembered to take a photo after I made these rolls, but this photo shows all my ingredients for the guac and the won ton wrappers I used
             

            HOLY GUACAMOLE BAKED APPETIZERS 

            Ingredients:

            • 1 avocado, mashed and seasoned with lime juice, cumin and kosher salt to taste (or grab your favorite store bought Guac)
            • 12 Won Ton Wrappers (you will find them in the refrigerated produce section)
            • Olive Oil Spray
            • A little bowl of water
            • Baking sheet sprayed with oil
            • 1 teaspoon

            Directions:

            • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
            • Make your Guac or open your store bought container 
            • Lay out 12 won ton wrappers on a sprayed baking sheet
            • Spoon a heaping teaspoon of Guac on to the middle of each won ton wrapper
            • Wet all 4 edges of the won ton wrapper with the water (I dipped my fingers in the small bowl of water) and make a triangle, pressing edges together. 
            • Invert the triangle with the top pointing down and bring the two ends of the triangle together, pressing them together. 
            • Work quickly as the won ton wrappers can dry out. 
            • After you’ve filled and folded all 12 won ton wrappers, give a light spray of oil over all the wrappers. 
            • Cook for 8-10 minutes. 
            • Serve with salsa or ranch dip or anything else your heart desires!
            Aren’t they pretty?
            The first fold into a triangle
            Next, turn triangle upside down…

             

            Bring two ends together and press firmly
             
             

               

              Hello, gorgeous!!
               

              These wrappers seriously make for an easy yummy appetizer!  

              Have you ever tried to recreate a restaurant recipe?  I’d love to hear about your recipe recreations!  Comment below!

                 
                 


                  Easy Valentine’s Day Sweet Rolls

                  Easy Valentine’s Day Sweet Rolls

                    

                  Happy Valentine’s Weekend!

                  Hope you’re braving the Arctic vortex warmly this weekend…it’s presently snowing again in Kentucky and the forecast calls for more snow.

                  Maybe you’re excited about Valentine’s falling on the weekend and want to do something special for breakfast…something Martha Stewart Pinterest worthy but zero effort!  I mean, you’ve already pulled out all the stops for your child’s Valentine’s Day box!

                  I’ve got the sweetest solution for your dilemma!  I saw this idea earlier this week on the Today Show…but, thought of a nifty improvement…mini sweet rolls! 

                  This is what you need:

                  • Can of normal sized  8 count cinnamon rolls you find in the dairy aisle
                  • A knife
                  • A cookie sheet
                  • An oven

                  The End.

                  I’ll walk you through the steps:

                  Step 1:

                   Buy the cinnamon roll regular sized 8 count (it will make 16 per this hack)

                  Dont buy the giant sized can…buy the 8 count regular sized sweet rolls…these Pillsbury ones are yummy!
                   

                  Step 2:

                  Set aside the frosting (on the left) and get out a sharp knife!  

                  Step 3:

                  Separate the 8 cinnamon rolls…each will look like this one.  

                  Step 4:

                  Unroll the cinnamon roll.  

                  Step 5:

                  Cut the length of the unrolled cinnamon roll in half…just eye ball it!

                  Step 6:

                  Take each end of one of the halves of the cinnamon roll and roll each end toward the middle, then pinch the bottom to make it heart-shaped. 

                  Just like snowflakes, each heart will be different!!
                    

                  Step 7:

                  Finish the roll and place on cookie sheet into oven per baking directions.  I didn’t have to cut the time of the baking even though the rolls were smaller!  

                  Step 8:

                  After baking , frost cinnamon rolls and enjoy!  

                  Of course, you could make normal sized heart shaped cinnamon rolls…but the mini size is so sweet and cute!!!

                   

                  These mini heart shaped cinnamon rolls would be sweet tucked inside your child’s lunch box or for an after school treat! 

                  How are you spending Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart(s)?  I’d love to hear!