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The Things I Loved This Week

Because I’ve already mentioned to excess that the 4th of July is one of my favorite days of the year, I’m going to be cutting out for the next few days. I’ll be here on Wednesday following a long holiday weekend where I hope there are copious fireworks and champagne in my future, in addition to a bunch of work I need to tackle behind the scenes for some big upcoming projects I can’t wait to share with you. Have you been following along on my Instagram Stories? We put in a new back patio this week and I’ve been sharing updates on the progress there. I’ll be sharing more over the weekend so you can see how it’s coming together since I know so many of you love these home renovation sneak peeks. In the meantime, here’s wishing you a beautiful 4th of July weekend for those of you here in the States! I’ll leave you with some of my favorite things from the week.

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DIY Star Spangled Napkins

When we bought our house last spring, we realized soon after that there was an old flag carefully rolled up in the foyer closet. The first morning that we woke up in the house after moving in following three insane weeks of renovations, the flag came out. We opened up the big double doors onto the front porch, slid the flag pole into place, and with that one simple action we felt completely at home. I’ve become really sentimental about that flag in the months since and it’s actually one of my favorite things about the entire house. Knowing the little old lady who lived here before us put that same flag out on the front porch for however many years gets me every time I think about it. Maybe I’m alone in this, but a well placed flag can bring on the best kind of nostalgia for me, which is why I believe everything should be star spangled and colored red, white and blue this time of year. Bring on these homemade star printed napkins! They’re one of the easiest 4th of July crafts you’ll ever make, but they’ll have such a huge visual impact on your festivities.

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Sprinkle Dipped Red, White + Blue 4th of July Ice Cream Cones

After Christmas, my favorite holiday is easily the 4th of July. There’s just nothing more festive to me than fireworks and the general summer-inspired glee that comes along with celebrating the 4th. Even now as an adult, the grand finale of any fireworks display makes me clap with excitement, because basically I am a five year old kid on the inside. This year I’m excited about hanging red, white and blue bunting along our front porch for the first time, and I’m also excited about these ice cream cones. Nothing is quite as American as red, white and blue sprinkle dipped 4th of July ice cream cones, am I right? These are such a fun way to serve up even just a simple scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, and you can prep the cones the day before. All you need are sugar cones, white chocolate and all the cool sprinkles you can find. Stay tuned for more fun 4th of July ideas! It’s about to get mighty patriotic about these parts.

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Homemade Italian Sodas

When I was in high school there was a little coffee shop in town where many of the kids in my class would gather in the evenings on the weekends. At the time I wasn’t much of a coffee aficionado, but they made the most delicious Italian sodas so those quickly became my regular. Now, every time I have one I am transported back to my last months and weeks of high school, so the timing seemed perfect to share my homemade version. A handful of our favorite teenagers are all graduating in the next several days and our calendar is about to fill up with graduation parties galore. From there we’re zipping right into the lead up into the 4th of July, so naturally I had to make sure my Italian sodas had a little patriotic spirit going on since they’d also make a perfectly festive drink at your Independence Day celebrations, too. They’re made with homemade berry syrups and they’re insanely delicious.

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A Summer Neighborhood Lawn Party

When we moved into our neighborhood a year ago we were thrilled to discover that we had unknowingly bought a house on the coolest block in town. Our neighbors have become incredible friends and we love that they all have kids, and that they also share our family-centric yet fun-loving ways. This time of year the afternoons mean nearly a dozen kids running up and down the street riding bikes, throwing lacrosse balls and chasing down the ice cream truck. When JOLLY TIME asked if I wanted to host a fun summer party for our neighborhood crew, there wasn’t a chance I’d turn that down.

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Real Talk with Real Moms: Finding Confidence as a Mom

Today my sister is 27 weeks pregnant with her first baby, a little girl who is already loved so very much. I was pregnant myself at this time two years ago (Emerson turned 18 months a couple weeks ago), so naturally we’re talking a lot about babies these days, and the things you need for babies and all the crazy large and small ways that babies change your life. One thing that has come up more than once is Ash saying, “I have no clue what I’m doing!” And that honestly just makes me laugh. Because no one knows what they’re doing when they have a baby, am I right? I sometimes still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing and my baby has quickly morphed into a tiny toddler girl with an abundance of spitfire and sass. So today I’m joining up with my fellow mom friends to dish on finding confidence as a mom.

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Sparkling Summer Solstice Sangria

June is one of my favorite months of the year, probably due to associating it with the start of summer vacation as a kid. Even now as an adult, many years past even my college or grad school days, I still love the start of summer! There’s an energy and lightness that comes along with the summer solstice that begs to be celebrated, which is why today I’m joining up with my pals at Dr. Oetker Virtuoso to share this sangria recipe. Appropriately enough, I’ve dubbed it a sparkling summer solstice sangria, and loaded it up with mango and raspberries so it’s super fruity and delicious, but not overly sweet. Paired with your favorite Virtuoso pizza, it makes for the perfect casual summer cocktail hour on the back patio or front porch.

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DIY Etched Beer Mugs for Dad

For whatever reason Father’s Day (like Mother’s Day) feels like one of those occasions for which homemade gifts are always the best idea. Even if Dad really wants an upgrade to his grill utensil set or has been longing for a new neck tie, chances are he’ll really really appreciate a homemade Father’s Day gift even more. Make him a DIY etched beer mug and pair it with a six pack of his favorite craft beer and he’ll be crazy impressed and feel especially loved. Dad’s not a drinker? No worries! Snag some good root beer and a half gallon of gourmet vanilla ice cream and he’ll still love this one. If you’ve never etched glass before, it’s surprisingly simple, but still seems really impressive so etched glass projects make perfect gifts in that way. You can make a mug in a half hour or less so there’s no major time involved here either. Win-win-win!

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The Things I Loved This Week

At long last it’s finally really feeling like the start to summer here this week and I have been loving the sunshine the last few days. Has anyone else had a spring that has been endlessly rainy and chilly? All of this to say, I have about zero plans this weekend that don’t revolve around spending some time outside, most likely working in the yard and planting some herbs. In the meantime I rounded up a few of the things that caught my eye this week!

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Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

You guys know by now that I’m a vegetarian and have been for well over a decade, so you may be wondering why I’m serving you up an appetizer today that is the very definition of un-vegetarian. It turns out though that this prosciutto wrapped asparagus was a huge hit when I made it on a whim on Easter and at the time Bob made me promise I’d make it again and also that I’d share it with you since it was a huge hit. You know you have a winner on your hands when you write a blog for a living and the family is declaring, “You need to post this!” while they’re enjoying something new you just made. Bob is actually the one who suggested this would make a great Father’s Day appetizer since it could also be made on the grill. So there you go, the official word on this recipe, according to gentleman of the household.

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12 Super Summery Smoothie Recipes

I’ve been in such a weird food rut lately, which isn’t very typical for me and I’m starting to feel it. At the moment I’ve basically been opting for some variation of avocado toast (generally on naan bread) as often as seems reasonable, because I’m just so bored with everything else. I love to cook, but behind the scenes I’ve been juggling a lot of huge projects (that I really really hope I can share with you in the coming weeks) so I’ve been eating on the fly more often. Frankly, I usually devote most of the food prep time to making meals for Em and then I just grab whatever is handy. This week I am planning to stock up on a bunch of fruit, frozen and fresh, so I can start working more smoothies into the routine.

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