Honey-cherry yogurt popsicles.

Popsicles and polka dots... 2 of my favorite things.
Hope your weekend is filled with some of your favorite summer things.  
Recipe from here; click image to enlarge.
*NOTE:  If you don't have popsicle molds, just use a small paper cup & a popsicle stick.  Insert sticks into center of popsicles after they start to freeze.  When fully frozen & ready to enjoy, peel away the cup.

Large-scale images.

 Image via
Although poster printing is not a new trend by any means, I've recently come across many unique ways to transform a simple photograph into a classic and personal piece of artwork.  I love the idea of enlarging and framing a 'non-portrait' image, such as the black & white picture above, or the nostalgic playing cards and hand-written keepsake below.  If you're interested in this type of project, as I am, see here for the 'how-to' and here for extra printing resources.  Additional image ideas can be found here.

 Images via (Via here )

... Or skip the do-it-yourself altogether and order one of Debbie carlos' lovely images.

    Images via (Via here)

Batali family blackberry pie.


Wild blackberry picking in the Sonoma backroads has become a favorite pastime.  Arriving in July this year, as opposed to our usual late August arrival taught us that although it is officially summer, July and August are like two different seasons... seasons within a season.  Like the mysterious splashes of pink Naked Ladies throughout the farmyards, coastal homes, and just about anywhere that they decide to bare themselves for the passenger's viewing pleasure.  Or the bountiful red peppers filling the baskets of farmers' market booths and shoppers' totes.  Or the sweet, ripened blackberries, covering bushes along the roads, driveways, and park walkways. 

Since blackberries were not yet ready to be enjoyed, we came home empty handed.  But "lucky" for us, the grocery stores of the U.S. don't really operate on a farmers' market schedule.  Blackberries any time of the year.  So, we finally had the opportunity to make a blackberry pie that I've been wanting to make ever since receiving this book of Mario's (and the gang) adventures in Spain.  And best of all, it's a family recipe- made by the Batali's after their yearly summer blackberry picking!  Without further ado...

Batali Family

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
About 5 tablespoons ice water
4 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
For the crust, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl.  With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Drizzle over 3 tablespoons of the ice water, tossing with a fork to moisten evenly, then add more water about 1 teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together.  Gather it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Cut the dough in half.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out one half (keep the remaining dough chilled) to a 12 1/2-inch round, and fit it into a 9-inch pie plate.  Put the blackberries in a bowl and toss gently with the sugar, flour, and lemon juice.  Transfer to the pie shell and dot with the butter.  Roll out the second piece of dough to an 11-inch round.  Cover the filling with the dough, trim the excess, and crimp the edges with a fork to seal.  Cut a few steam vents in the center of the crust.  Bake in a 350`F oven for 1 hour, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling.  Let cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes.

Family fun night.

 Family Fun Night image via

In trying to keep our vacation spirit alive we had our first official "Family fun night" this past weekend.  Hailey and I recently bought this book at her school's book fair and it's full of simple ideas for nights of family fun.  Since we didn't have a chance to play many games on our camping trip, we thought we'd start with 'board game night' ... + Jacob has been asking to play his game of LIFE since, ummm- February??

Had a blast re-learning how to play the game, forging on to our retirements together, and eating homemade 'Batali (Mario, that is) family blackberry pie'... but that, I will save for tomorrow's post.

{Wine} Country @ heart.

We have camped all over California (and beyond), but we'd been looking for a permanent yearly spot- one that we loved so much where we could return each year... a home-away-from-home.   Four years ago, we found our perfect spot.  One that we always drive away from wishing we could have just one more week.  One that inspires us to slow down.  To celebrate life- and each other.  To gather around the table more and less around the t.v.  To create meaningful traditions.  To live sustainably and seasonally.

A few of our favorite simple pleasures...  

The road trip.

Sonoma Coast camping.

Picnics, wine, & farmers markets.


Salt water taffy, chowder, brick oven bread...

...burgers & sweet potato fries @ Gott's Roadside.

And best of all, good ol' fashioned fun.

Party banners.

Hailey's turning seven tomorrow, and her party is the following day.  This week has been full of party planning and preparing.  I saw this, and this post a while back and have been waiting for the opportunity to create some letter banners of my own.  Then...recently I saw this and this and now really want to create a pennant banner or two.  Love their simplicity, color, nostalgia, and most of all, that I have a new found purpose for using up the mounds of scrapbook paper that may never get 'scrapbooked.'

For those who really want a letter or pennant banner too...but are in no mood for a DIY project, see the links below for very inexpensive ones you can purchase.  For those who are up for the challenge, simply cut the letters or pennants (see the template below) out, and attach to ribbon, string, raffia, or twine, using paperclips, glue, tape, or mini clothespins.

Here are some examples of the loveliness that a banner adds.  I'll post pictures of mine after the party!

Original sources (left to right; top to bottom):  1) downloadable bunting pennant; 2) "celebrate" banner; 3) banter banner; 4) outdoor party banner; 5) festive garland; 6) flag streamers; 7) happy birthday banner

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