Friday Wrap: Sunny Summer Fun, So Far

{shop this darling print here!}

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted family pics and shared a little about what we’ve been up to (other than painting kindness rocks…my girls and I are super into this right now, btw!!)

With 4th of July literally around the corner of this weekend, I had a flash of realization that we’re already at the halfway mark of summer. Dang, sisters. That happened fast.

We haven’t had our big beach trip just yet, but we’ve made the most of our days so far. A few highlights >>

{ONE} Serious Soccer & Wolfpack Wednesdays

My son and his soccer team placed first in the the state of Arkansas for his age group, which means they qualified for regionals in North Carolina last week. They practiced such long hours and played their hearts out. In the end, they didn’t advance to finals, but we were so proud of their accomplishments.

I love this picture my husband took of the team before their first game of the tournament. #praybeforeplay

Evan and his teammates were excited for opening ceremonies. Each player received nice shirts and lots of soccer swag before the “show.”

Between soccer practices, Evan and his friends made time for driveway hoops.

We extended an open invitation every Wednesday night for the boys to come over and play basketball. We just fill the outdoor fridge with Gatorade and let them do their thing. Their team is called the Wolfpack, so “Wolfpack Wednesdays” kinda stuck. I think this tradition will, too.

{TWO} Puppy Playtime

Our mini goldendoodle, Leo, recently turned two years old!! We had a puppy birthday party for him that included his “cousin” Frito. His hat and treats all came from Three Dog Bakery. That place is the cutest.

In other puppy news…we’ve been dog sitting for a friend of ours over the past two weeks. The dog’s name is Rocky, and we’ve had fun coming up with all kinds of nicknames for this sweet boy…Rocky Road, Rocky Balboa, Rocky Mountain High, etc.

As you can tell from this picture, Leo kinda likes having Rocky around. He puts his paw on his back when we watch TV. Srsly the best. He’s gonna be sad when his friend has to go back home.

Here’s a glamour shot of our little friend. Haha!

{THREE} Lots of Swim Time

My family called me “fish” growing up because I swam so much. It’s no exaggeration to say that every day in the summer I was either in a pool splashing around, beside a pool catching some rays, or watching over a pool as a lifeguard as I got older. I loved (and still love) the water.

It’s super cute to see my girls following in my wet footsteps. They had their first swim meet of the season a few weeks ago and these Ducks rocked it.

Swimming isn’t just about competition. We love to close down our neighborhood pool each night with friends! Summer memories right there.

{FOUR} Cheerin’ & Chillin’ 

My girls decided to try some new things this summer, too. So…

Clara just started a cheer and tumbling class. Totally out of the blue for her, since she’s never taken any sort of gymnastics. She barely knew how to do a cartwheel when she started. One week later, she’s doing backbends and attempting back handsprings. I love her adventurous spirit.

While Clara was flipping around, Avery decided to chill at home and do other things, like swing in the hammock, watch hummingbirds (yes, a hummingbird perched and drank from the feeder while Avery talked to it!!), and read her book club book. A little quiet time away from her twin is perfectly acceptable.

She plans to start tennis in the near future. So more on that later!

Speaking of book club books…a mom in our neighborhood started a cool group for girls entering 6th grade next year. She picked The Giver as their first book, and they’ve all been reading and discussing the book once a week.

This picture was from their first meeting at Freddy’s. The frozen custard afterward definitely sealed the deal. The girls were hooked – and have been reading more this summer than any other that I can remember!

{FIVE} 70’s Style Bowling & Outdoor Concerts

The kids shouldn’t have all of the summer fun, right?! Brandon had a hilarious 70s-style bowling party with his work friends a few weeks ago. They were celebrating a co-worker’s birthday…in Big Lebowski fashion.

Brandon is in the middle with his Star Wars tee tucked into those sexy polyester, baby-blue trousers.


Aaand I managed to squeeze in a girls night out! (Mama’s get to party, too.)

We went to the Elle King concert at the Walmart AMP, which is a beautiful outdoor amphitheater here in Northwest Arkansas.

(The guy in the photo is the husband of my friend, Jen. He was veeery brave to hang with us that night. Haha!)

Elle King has such a soulful, powerful voice. I went to the concert only knowing two of her songs and left loving many more.

That’s a wrap for now!

We’re heading to Indian Hollow this weekend for some fireworks and family time. We head to the beach at the end of July, so we’ll keep doing all of the above until that time. And I’ll keep on postin’.

XOXO,

Kate

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A November Welcome + Permission Not to be Perfect

The month of November holds a special place in my heart because it’s when I celebrate my wedding anniversary, my mom’s birthday, Thanksgiving, and cooler air with the most gorgeous leaves on our sugar maple trees.

In fact, you know that fresh-start feeling on New Year’s Day when everything gets rebooted – like a computer? You examine your health, habits, relationships, and any projects that had been sitting idle and nudge them into motion? I actually get this feeling now.

I try not to let the “bigness” of the upcoming holidays and busy schedules overpower me.

Sitting in the joy and gratitude of November is an awesome way to recognize the month.

I’ve seen lots of people take on gratitude challenges this time of year. In theory, this is a beautiful idea. And this is one of the best lists I’ve seen so far >>

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I have to admit that while I want to join the ranks and post something online that I’m grateful for each and every day, the thought of this challenge is both exciting and stressful to me. As someone who steps in and out of the grip of perfectionism, this type of activity can be a trap.

I’ll get all gung-ho…for a few days. I might even buy and new journal and special pen just for the occasion. But by the fifth or sixth day, I might miss writing something down. So I try to get back on schedule, maybe even backtrack. Then I miss another day. At this point I have holes. Holes that taunt me from their stupid blank pages. Instead of letting go, I leave. I ditch the idea altogether, because I feel like I failed. Then I feel guilty for messing up and giving up.

And this was supposed to be a peaceful and enjoyable experience…about feeling grateful?!

I do realize how crazy this sounds. It’s still hard, though. So I’m taking a cue from Brene Brown and am writing myself a permission slip.

“Kate, you have permission to mess up. Even with a simple gratitude challenge. You can skip a day, forget a day, or even not know what the hell to be thankful for, because it’s a tough day. You’re imperfect, and that, in itself, is perfect.”

So today I take on the challenge of sharing my thanks. I won’t promise to post something every day…or even once a week for Thankful Thursdays. I’ll simply start by sharing five things I’m grateful for today, on this awesome Friday. And let’s see where it goes from here. >>

{ONE} My mom’s 80th birthday

mimi-clark

My sweet mom, Mimi, is turning 80 years old this weekend! My entire family (all five siblings) will be gathering for the first time in we-can’t-even-remember-how-long to celebrate my mom and all of her awesomeness. I’m so thankful we’re able to pull this off, and I can’t wait to see my mom’s smile when she sees all of her babies in one spot!! 😉

{TWO} Friends I can lean on

friends

More times than I can count on my hands and feet, I’ve relied on friends to help me out. Whether it’s a carpool ride, point of view, beer buddy, listening ear, high five, or encouraging hug, I’ve been blessed to have the comfort of friends around me. Not all of them are pictured above, but this was taken at a recent GNO and shows a few of my incredible friends here in Arkansas. I love and appreciate them so much…they have no idea. <3

{THREE} The beach

beach-sunset

I’m still basking in the memories of my recent trip to the beach with Brandon. Sometimes if I’m quiet enough, I can hear the ocean waves and taste the salty air. I’m obsessed with the ocean and am so thankful B was able to score that lovely trip to Laguna. P.S. That picture has no filter.

{FOUR} This phrase…

contribute-more-than-criticize

Okay, so this is another Brene Brown reference. I was recently watching a video of her talking to Oprah, and she made this bold and tearful statement. More than anything, she wanted to be known for contributing more than she criticized.

It struck a deep chord with me, as I sometimes look with a critical eye at situations and even people. And as I scroll through my Facebook feed full of criticism about politicians and life’s situations, I can easily get caught up in the drama. So I’m thankful for this reminder – and motto.

How can I contribute instead of fanning the flames of negativity around me?

{FIVE} The right to vote

Speaking of politics, in a way, Tuesday is an incredibly important day. As a U.S. citizen, and more specifically as a woman, it’s our right to be able to vote.

There were many women before us who had to fight for this right. The ultimate sign of gratitude for their efforts is for us to stand up and voice our opinion through our vote.

No matter who you’re rooting for (or even against), that’s not the point. The ultimate message is to let yourself be heard. Take a moment to read up on the issues and get to know the politicians in your district, state, and country. Then get out there on Tuesday, if you haven’t already, and cast your vote. Your voice matters.

Okay, friends. That’s a wrap for this first friday of November. Here’s to a messy, mismatched weekend – that’s perfectly imperfect.

XoXo,

Kate

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Friday Wrap: Friends & Fun

We had an action-packed week with some dear friends in town visiting. Once things settled back into a routine, I found a few tidbits I wanted to share, so this week’s top five list is a bit of a mishmash. One thing that is the same…I’m happy it’s already Friday. Love me some short weeks.

excited otter

This is how I feel inside.

Now let’s get to wrappin’ up this week like a present, shall we?

{ONE} All Kinds of 4th Fun

I’ll start by sharing some pics from the weekend. It went by so fast, which usually means we were having buckets of fun. And I’m here to say that fun was had by all – kids, adults, and even the animals.

friends

The girls are showing off their first fireworks of the day. They shot off some parachutes, which were fun to chase down. In fact, I think we still have some on the roof.

friends at the market

This was taken on our way to the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. Look at our colorful ensemble.

avery and bear

You know how Avery loves bears? Well, she found one to play with at the market. (This is a beautiful mural on the side of a building in downtown Fayetteville, btw. I just love street art.)

weekend activities

This is a snapshot of a few more activities that filled our weekend. The kids had a blast painting each other’s faces, visiting Crystal Bridges Museum, eating Pedal Pops at the Farmers Market, and finally lighting some sparklers!! Notice the Solo cup hand protectors in the lower right? That was the best decision of the day. The kids could light sparklers without getting burned. #momwin

friends and tats

The adults had some fun, too! We’re showing off our temporary tats.

leo

Leo was such a trooper to put up with all of the madness.

{TWO} Lemonade for the Animals

As you can see, we packed in a lot of activities over the weekend. We even squeezed in some time for a lemonade stand! Our friends had the idea of donating the money to charity, and the kids picked our local animal shelter.

lemonade stand

Look at those cutie patooties. They even had stuffed animals on their stand to help sell the idea of helping animals. 😉

After the sale, the girls gathered their profits and shopped at PetCo for treats and toys. When we arrived at the shelter, the lady who greeted us said to go ahead and give everything to the animals. So we spent the next hour or so visiting each cage handing out treats and making some furry friends. They were so excited to see us. It was hard not to take them all home. This is why I need a farm, people.

animal services

We could have stayed and played for days. In fact, the girls asked if we could go back soon to check on the friends we made. <3

evan with dog

This is Evan and Yoda. I have to tell you, at first Evan didn’t want to go with us. He was being a bit of a moody teenager. Once we got inside, though, something changed. His face softened and I think he really felt for these animals. He wanted to stop and pet each one. Later that night, he told me he was really glad he went. A good lesson for both of us. 🙂

{THREE} Vanilla Nut Bites

Okay, so on Saturday we decided to go swim at our friends’ pool. It was awesome to have our new, local friends meet our long-time college friends. It turns out they’re all from Nebraska, which is even cooler. (Go Big Red!)

Anyway, this is the occasion where I was introduced to these balls of goodness called Vanilla Nut Bites. They are delicious, easy to make, and healthy – my three favorite ingredients.

vanilla nut bites on a pan

I forgot to mention they’re also no-bake, which makes them ideal for summer snacking. Don’t go heating up that oven if you don’t have to. I rolled these up in less than 10 min.

Are you ready for the recipe? Here’s all you need…

vanilla nut bites

Vanilla Nut Bites

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in a food processor. Roll into balls (using a cookie scoop or something similar to make it easier) and put in freezer or fridge to set.

I’m tellin’ you, they are so good. And be prepared for inappropriate jokes about balls and nuts when you serve them – especially if anyone has had a glass of wine or two and/or has seen the SNL skit about schweddy balls.

{FOUR} Sweetest Tomatoes

While we’re on the topic of food, I have to announce we had our first garden tomatoes this week. It really happened.

With so much going on I hadn’t properly tended to the garden in awhile. The kids were playing outside and noticed something bright red in the tomato patch. Lo’ and behold, we had not one, but almost a dozen ripe tomatoes!

We quickly had a salad celebration complete with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a dash of sea salt. (That’s my favorite way to eat a fresh-sliced tomato. Sometimes I’ll add a basil leaf on top.)

They tasted so good, and I was reminded to add a bit of baking soda to the soil to help sweeten our next batch. Do you do that, too?

I also plant marigolds around the base of my tomatoes to help naturally keep bugs away. I think my mom gave me that tip. Anyway, happy tomato season!

tomatoes

I decided to put my tomatoes in whiskey barrels this year, because I read that the leaves are poisonous to dogs. I needed to keep them out of our backyard and away from Leo.

{FIVE} Fruit Fly Trap

This last item on my list is super random, but super helpful if you’re dealing with fruit flies at the moment.

All of the fresh summer fruits and veggies I’ve been picking up at the market (and now growing in my garden) have been attracting some unwanted guests. I get flocks (?) of fruit flies in one spot of my kitchen, so I started filling a small measuring cup with apple cider vinegar and a drop of dish soap (to help the flies stick to the vinegar). It works like magic!

fly trap

This darling cup is from the Pioneer Woman set. If you look closely, you can see a fruit fly already landed. I literally just poured this and it’s already working. Bam.

Thanks so much for stopping by and seeing what we’ve been up to in the Andersen house. We leave for our big trip to South Dakota next weekend, so you might see me pinning lots of things to my new Road Trip Tips board. All ideas are welcomed, so let me know your must-do, must-have road trip items!

XoXo,

Kate

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Fun Friday Wrap

We’ve had such a fun-filled week (including last weekend). I thought I’d share some of the joy in my “Five on Friday” list. Here we go:

{ONE} Fayetteville Ale Trail

ale trail

Look at our fun, crazy friends. We’re blessed to have found this crew.

B and I had a BLAST touring several local craft breweries with our friends last weekend. Northwest Arkansas is a flourishing area for this type of thing. (There’s even this cool documentary about it.) And we’re the lucky ones who get to benefit from all of the creativity and delicious brews. My favorite of the day was T-Rex from Fossil Cove. It’s really good. And I sampled a lot of beer that day. Hiccup. A couple of the places offered tours, so it was also highly educational. Wink!

{TWO} Repurposed Muffin Tin

muffin tin

Okay, so I’m still on the topic of the beer tour, but I had to share this smart idea. You know I’m a sucker for repurposed anything. Well, I now have a new use for muffin tins!

Let me back up the bus. Whenever you order a flight, which is basically several little shots of beer, it’s usually served in small glasses nestled inside of a wooden tray. When we were at Saddlebock Brewery, they served their glasses in muffin tins. They used dry erase markers to label each of the beer samples. It may have been the beer, but I thought this was pure genius. There you have it!

{THREE} An All-American Performance
american performance

My sweet girls had a 4th grade performance last week that featured all American-themed songs. Clara is pictured on the left, and it’s a bit blurry because I was trying to work around the dude in front of me in the oversized cowboy hat. Seriously, people. Oh, and yes, that’s a giant pig in the background. I’m still not sure why there were farm animals, but they were very funny.

Avery, pictured on the right, was a flag twirler. You can tell from her expression that she was in her element. It was a wonderful moment for us, and for my parents who were able to join us, to celebrate our patriotism. It was much needed. Thank you, my twinsies!

{FOUR} Recovering Puppy

cone head leo

Our little Leo was neutered last week, so he has been recovering the past few days. The Cone of Shame comes off on Sunday, so I’m sure he’ll be back to his jumpy, puppy self once that happens. In the meantime, while he has been napping at my feet, look who came out of her room to play “office” with me…

rosie at the office

It’s Rosie the rabbit! She loved sitting in my lap while I worked. This picture cracked me up because it looks like she’s drinking a latte, and maybe posting a few blackmail pictures of Leo wearing his cone.

{FIVE} Thoughtful Anniversary Gift

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As many of you know, B and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary a tad early when we took our trip to Oregon. Our official date is over Thanksgiving weekend. So in honor of our anniversary month, we’ve been spacing out special surprises for each other. One of them was opening this incredibly thoughtful gift from my parents.

It’s a brass door knocker they received as a wedding gift in 1958! They decided to share it with us on this special milestone. I love this so much. I hope I remember to hang on to gifts like this for my kids one day.

Here’s to more adventures ahead – for all of us, my friends!

Be sure to check out all of the blogging goodness on Five on Friday and Oh, Hey Friday!

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-Kate

 

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