at the river...

One beautiful day this summer, Finn and I stumbled upon a hidden gem of a park near our house.  How could this amazing place be so close to us and we never even knew it?!  Finn and I both love being outdoors, yet in more natural settings.  He loves playgrounds and sliding and swinging, but he loves getting dirty and playing in mud a lot too.  I don't like playgrounds...they are packed, I don't feel like I fit in with the "mommy" crowd, especially in the area we live, and I feel like I have to watch Finn constantly.  But parks like this one?  I love them.  I grew up roaming the outdoors with my siblings for hours on end, and rarely we went to traditional city parks with the playground equipment.

Usually, we are the only people around when we come to this park, and I can bring a book and read while Finn plays to his heart's content, or I'll practice my rock-skipping abilities (which are getting slightly better) on the river.  I don't feel like I need to watch him constantly, and I'll call out if he's getting too far into the water or too far out of my sight.

Plus, we get to see a lot of fish, birds, snakes, squirrels, and geckos that we normally wouldn't see around our house or out and about.  I think Finn enjoys the freedom he has here as well...getting to run as fast and as far as he wants in the wide open field, and getting dirty while he plays.

I try to overcome my dislikes for playgrounds, and I do take Finn to our local playground on occasion. He loves sliding and swinging very very much. :)  It's just awkward sometimes.  I feel like I'm on a first date with some of the moms as we try to make small talk and find common ground, or we just don't talk at all and just nod and smile. So awkward! Guess I need to work on my playground talk.  But more often than not, you will find Finn and I exploring our new river park find and loving the outdoors.

If you are in the Indy area and want to check it out, it's called Hazel Landing Park and it's just north of 96th street on Hazel Dell Parkway.


Simple strata recipe...

We love having simple egg dishes for a quick and healthy supper.
Here's a strata recipe I recently made that we all loved.

Sausage & Pepper Strata
- 1/2 lb. ground pork sausage
- 1/2 jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sausage to the skillet, and cook until browned.  Drain onto paper towel-lined plate.

Combine sausage, peppers, onion, eggs, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Stir with a whisk.
Pour mixture into a pie plate or small baking dish rubbed with oil.
Bake 20 minutes or until center is set.  Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.



Today I am thankful...

*For my best friend and the best husband this girl could ever want or need.

*For this warm weather.  Summer isn't gone, and I am going to bask in this sunshine!

*For the choice to be joyful and optimistic each day.

*For smiling cheeks and slobbery kisses from a very sweet toddler of mine.

*For warm coffee in the morning and beautiful mugs to put it in.

*For family that drops everything to be with or think of someone who is hurting.

*For witnessing the love of a father that was so great and powerful, it touched hundreds of people at once.

*For friends who don't just talk about hip stuff or the weather, but challenge me and inspire me to grow.

*For the gift of music, which can cross any language barrier.

*For songs that make me cry, and songs that make me dance.

*For the chance to rest and be quiet every once in awhile.


summer highlights...

We have been soaking up this summer with lots of time outside, on vacation, with friends, and just hanging out at home.

Here are some highlights!

I finally got a tattoo I had been wanting.  My sister and I went together and each got one, and it was a fun time to do a "first" with my best friend.

Finn played a lot of music.  He is getting so much more interested in singing and playing instruments, and he loves strumming Landon's ukulele and playing his harmonica.

We took a vacation to Virginia with Landon's family, and Finn absolutely loved the beach!

We went camping with our small group.  Finn was the only child in the group, and he did really well!  We'll be doing more of this in the future.

I spent a lot of time with this guy. :)  Lot's of coffee dates, some weekends away from Finn, and just good quality time.  I love Landon more than I could ever describe.

We ate a lot of s'mores.  I mean, a lot.

I got a Bill Murray tank off of Etsy, and have worn it a bunch of times already.  It's quickly becoming my favorite summer shirt.

Finn spent a lot of time naked or almost naked.  Summer is great for that! :)

Needless to say, we have had a busy but good summer so far.  I feel so blessed to have such an amazing family, and live in such an amazing place!  Still planning on soaking up the rest of summer and doing what we love best...spending time together.


summer lunch...

Here is a quick and healthy summer lunch I enjoyed today.

Avocado & Grape Tomato Salad

- 1/2 avocado
- 8 to 10 grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Slice the avocado and tomatoes.  Arrange on a plate.  Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the vegetables.  Top with the greek yogurt.


little man...

Just loving life with this little man right now.  He fills my heart to the brim with happiness and love.  I am so blessed to get to be his mama.


iced coffee...

After some super busy weeks, vacation, and lots of summer fun, we are finally relaxing for a week....before heading out for some more fun weekends in August.  Doing as much to relax and savor each day of this quickly passing summer, one of my favorite ways is to enjoy a nice iced coffee.  It's been our go-to drink this year, and it's nice to have one that tastes so good and isn't too bad for us either.  Landon takes his black, and I take mine with a bit of milk or half and half.

To make mine at home, I just brewed some strong coffee, then chilled it overnight.  I threw in a few ice cubes, added some whole milk, then filled up the cup with the coffee.  Love it!

I can't wait to share some photos from our vacation we just recently got back from.  We enjoyed touring around the Williamsburg area, and Landon and I got to take an amazing whitewater rafting trip just the two of us.  Summer is so exciting!!

Now, off to enjoy a gloriously beautiful day outside.  I think Finn and I will be exploring a new park in the area and do a bit of hiking.  Happy August!


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