Favorite Summer Recipes-Girl Chat Link Up

If you've been visiting this little space of mine for awhile now then you know I tend to be a seasonal eater. Certain things just taste better to me at certain times during the year. Like hot chocolate, or a bowl soup, it would be a rare occasion to catch me sipping on some in the middle of August. 

The summer is some of my favorite times for food (fall being a close second). I love grilled food, eating outside, enjoying a sweet treat, all the fresh fruit and veggies—I could do without all the flies and bugs though, but what can you do. 

This month for our girl chat link up we're sharing some of our favorite recipes. I dug deep into my archives here because food posts just haven't been a thing for me in several years. I love taking pictures of food, but preparing and telling a house full of boys they need wait to try something, just isn't happening. I also rounded up some of my favorite Pinterest finds that have been my go-to for making in the summer.  

I'm not sure I know anyone who doesn't like tacos. Enjoying some fish tacos in the summer is one of my favorites. We also love making a homemade mango salsa to top it off and oh boy, now I want a taco.

Speaking of salsa, we also like to make this refreshing strawberry salsa. We enjoy this with regular tortilla chips, but I would imagine you could also top it on some of your favorites.

In keeping with the fruit talk, we also love some grilled peaches. I'm excited that peach season is coming up for us in August and we plan on going picking this year. This recipe includes a scoop of ice cream which also makes these a delicious after dinner treat.

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Our neighbor has some great basil growing and just brought us over a fresh bag of it. I have some fresh mozzarella in the fridge and a tomato getting ripe on my counter. I love tomato, mozzarella and basil but I also love it with some grilled zucchini
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I also love sipping on some sangria in the summer but this summer it's obviously all mocktails for me. This light and refreshing peach rosè sangria is a favorite and will probably be extended to enjoying some over the holidays when I can cheers again. 

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I feel like my list could have kept going on with so many summer staples. Burgers are a big one for us over the summer too, but it's hard to narrow down just one. Lately I've been making my own patties with either ground turkey or ground chicken. A summer pasta salad is also a good one for us. But now it's your turn to share your favorite summer recipes. I can't wait to see what you enjoy! 

Custom Stationery And Invites With Basic Invite

Thank you Basic Invite for sponsoring this post. All opinions remain my own. 

Something I've been wanting to look into for awhile now has been custom stationery for my blog and also business cards. I've always loved fun stationery and feel more inclined to want to write things down on paper that's pretty and grabs my attention. That might sound silly, but it's something that works for me.

With all of the craziness life has been throwing us lately, if I don't write something down I'm more than likely going to forget about it. I also enjoy making lists and crossing things off when I accomplish them, or breaking them down into priorities and figuring out what to tackle first. Something else I have really enjoyed doing is sending thank you notes. I know nowadays it's so easy to just shoot off a quick email as a thank you (which I still do from time to time), but even in my office, when someone sends me a thank you note, the first thing I do is find a place for it on my corkboard and that person usually sticks out in my mind.

Basic Invite makes it very easy for you to choose from their designs but also to add your own customization to make it even more personal. They have so many options available, like almost unlimited color resources, different colored envelops, address capturing services, and foil designs. There's something for everyone to make their selections stand out and keep them unique. I think out of all of the designs I went with, this design was my favorite. It's gives a clear indication of my blog and also has my website and contact information directly at the bottom. This comes in very handy when sending a note to a company or perspective opportunities. I also had fun playing around with the colors, paper type, and corner options.

I attended a few blogging and network events recently and after coming home I realized I would have loved to have business cards with me. When you're meeting so many different people you can't expect them to remember your name let alone your blog or email address. I really love how these luxe business cards came out and how you also had the option to customize them, add your logo, or keep them as simple as you would like. I'm looking forward to handing these out in the future.

Another resource that Basic Invite is great for is, well, invitations. I was oohing and aahing over their adorable safari baby shower invitations and it brought me back to reminiscing about A's baby shower where we also had a gender reveal for everyone. It's hard to believe that this weekend will be five years since we celebrated that special day. Time really does fly right on by. I couldn't help myself and of course had to look through their baby announcements to get an idea and some options in mind for when baby boy comes. It's hard to believe that he will also be here before we know it. 

Basic Invite is currently offering 15% off when you use code 15FF51. Happy shopping! 

Essentials For A Summer Pregnancy

With this being my third pregnancy going through majority of my time in the summer, I've learned a thing or two about what works best for me during this season. Some will argue that the summer is the worst time to be pregnant and some will argue that it's a good time to be pregnant. I can only speak to what I know, and I would say it's not as bad as you would think. 

I'm sure each season has it's up and downs, but the summer for me feels convenient. I'm actually a little nervous that baby boy is due in the fall because I'm not sure how it will be wearing a jacket or trying to fit into boots and jeans when that time comes. But for now, I'm sharing some summer essentials that have helped me beat the heat and keep my baby bump staying cool. 


I learned early on that I need to keep water with me for whenever I need it. Especially if I'm going to be outside, that's just a no brainer. But even so, it's come in handy when I'm out running errands, driving in the car, where ever, really. I like to drink mine out of a stainless steel cup because I have this thing with plastic, and I happen to think it keeps it cooler longer.


I've been in too many situations where I've resorted back to my toddler days of doing the potty dance and needing to go, like right away. If you're out and about it's a good idea to scope out the bathrooms and know where the nearest one is. If you'll be in the car for awhile it's a good idea to know when a rest stop is coming up or a place where you can stop off and use the facilities. Trust me, especially if you are towards the end of your pregnancy, you will be going a lot more often.


This one is also a no brainer to me but you'd be surprised at how many people I've talked to recently that don't wear sunscreen. It just blows my mind. In general we try to use products with less chemicals and it's something I've always paid more attention to especially when I'm pregnant. I'm not one to typically burn, but my hormones change when carrying a baby and I tend to burn a lot easier than I ever would. I even keep some in my car and in our stroller just in case I need some unexpectedly while we are out. 


For me sandals are my bff in the summer and an even bigger bonus when I'm pregnant. Thankfully I haven't really experienced swollen feet, but I know it can happen. Who wants to try and stuff their feet into restricting shoes. I also think it's good to have a sturdy pair of sandals with straps, because I don't know about you, but I can get clumsy when I'm waddling this belly around. 


This is a huge one for me. This is where the convenient part of being pregnant in the summer comes in. You can just throw on a comfortable cotton dress (mine is c/o of PinkBlush) and put on your sandals and you are good to go. I also love pieces that can easily transition from my office to a weekend look. A maxi dress like this one is also perfect and can still leave you feeling stylish and summery. For me, sometimes when I'm pregnant I feel more confident in form fitting dresses instead of everything feeling baggy and extra. PinkBlush has so many different options for everyone that it's my go-to shop for maternity wear. 


I say a good pair of shorts because I've gone on the cheaper side with them before and they left me nothing but uncomfortable and constantly pulling them and the belly panel up. A lot of the comfort of shorts rests in the elastic waistband which can make all of the difference. I have been living in these shorts (c/o of PinkBlush) and can't say enough good things about them. When you find a pair that is comfortable and hugs in all of the right places, it's a total win. I still love jeans with a good distressed look and think these are the perfect mix of maternity and trend.  


It's no surprise over here that we are a family that loves being by the water. I think that's another reason why the summer doesn't bother me as much when being pregnant. If you have access to a pool, lake, or beach, take advantage of it. I get it, you might not want to jumping for joy to get in a swimsuit with your body feeling different than you're used to (it's not always easy for me either), but it's the summer, rock that body and get in that water. 


I need to take my own advice here because I have been slacking with keeping up with getting pedicures. I have been doing them on my own lately because as of now I can still reach my toes somewhat comfortably. Once that changes, I will be getting pedicures more often. There's something about having a fun or bright color on your toes for the summer that makes those sandal and flip flop days even better. 

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! I hope everyone had a great week. Coming off of a short holiday week always makes a full week feel so much longer. This week was a little all over the place for us with extra doctors visits and trying to get caught up on things after coming back from the beach. I am drowning in laundry over here and feel like I need to take a day just to get everything in order. I also need to go through all of little nugget's things that he is outgrowing and decide what to keep for baby brother, what to donate, and what has seen its days. That in itself is always a project, and I'm not sure I'm ready to tackle it right now. My favorites will be a little random and all over the place, but I have a few, so I figured I'd share. 

1. Beach time: there's no way this wouldn't be my top favorite because I think one of my all time favorite things during the summer is being at the beach. Every time we go Eric jumps online to check out the housing market and we dream about buying a house there. We always say we would rent it out on the weeks we wouldn't be there and how we would make it work. To be honest, I don't think it would be too far fetched to try and make that happen within the next 10 years. The boys love being by the water, we love it, and I can just imagine how fun the summers would be. For now, we are thankful his parents have a place that we can stay at. You can read all about our 4th of July week fun and what we got into.

2. Free slurpee day: Eric reminded me that it was free slurpee day at 7-11 on 7/11. Luckily I pass one on my way home from picking up the boys at camp, so it was the perfect time to stop with them and enjoy a refreshing treat. I took a boomerang of us doing a cheers, you might have seen it on my insta stories (@beautifully_candid) but I forgot to actually take a pic. Oh well, we're focusing on living more in the moment so a screenshot of the video totally works, right?!

3. Garden update: to tell you I am so happy that our garden isn't a total flop this year is an understatement. It's such a great feeling to eat your own vegetables! We had a ton of green beans ready to be picked when we came back from the shore and the boys had such a good time picking them all. It made my job easier too, haha. They don't even care if they are cooked or not. They will open the fridge and grab a handful of them and just start munching away. Our zucchinis on the other hand aren't looking too hot, but maybe we'll master them next year. The boys also built this scarecrow/robot/tin man looking thing with my mom and made it all out of recycled products. I think he looks pretty good and is hopefully keeping the critters away.

4. Shark party: I can't believe that little nugget will be three in a month. Seriously time is just flying. With everything going on in our lives we still want to have a great party for him but are going to keep it small with family and a few friends from his class. We decided to just have it at out our house. At this age, as fun as it is to go over the top for them, they really only care about running around with their friends and if there are cupcakes. And a bounce house. His one request is to have a bounce house, so we're working on that. If you're a parent or have small children in your family, then you probably know all about the baby shark song (doo doo, doo doo doo doo). Sorry if I just got it stuck in anyone's head because, Lord help us. Well, he loves that song, and just lights up when it comes on. It only makes sense to have a shark party for him, but as he would say, a nice shark party not a scary one. I have been turning to where else, Pinterest (if we're not following each other there let's connect) for all the inspirational ideas and I think I have a good starting point.
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5. Baby boy: if you caught my post yesterday then you know a bit about what's going on with baby boy. It's not always easy to share when things aren't going as planned and life kind of kicks in. I am so appreciative of the love and support from all of you. It truly means a lot to me and more than you will ever know.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Here's where you can find me linking. Speaking of link ups, we have our monthly girl chat next Thursday where we'll be sharing our favorite summer recipes. We'd love for you to join us!

20 Week Update And When Things Don't Always Go As Planned

This is one of those posts I've been sitting on for a few weeks now. I'm having a hard time hitting publish but I also know those are the moments we grow and challenge ourselves. It's not always easy to put it out there instead of keeping it within my own little bubble. There's something about hitting publish that makes it become more of a reality. As I sit here with my eyes filled with tears, I've already erased what I've typed out twice. I'm not sure what direction I want this post to go in, or how it will actually turn out, but I'm just going to roll with it and open up my heart. 

You see, I think often times as bloggers we get misunderstood. Many people I've talked with who aren't apart of the blogging community only think we're in it to make money, get invited to events, or brag about how fun our families are. While that might be the case for some, there are also those moments, those real life moments, when some of us let our guard down and get back to just connecting with people. 

This isn't going to be a typical bump update about what I'm craving (because I've actually never had a craving with any of my pregnancies), or how I'm sleeping (does anyone really care?). That's not to put those posts down, I read them, and enjoy them, but that's just not where I'm at right now. 

Let me back up a bit, there has been a lot going on with this pregnancy that I haven't shared about yet. Coming off of a loss it hasn't been the easiest for us. We knew that our family didn't feel complete and prayed hard for another child. I was so thankful we were able to get pregnant again, and relatively quick. Those first few weeks things were going fine and I was thankful to have some of those typical pregnancy symptoms. Fast forward to a few weeks in and my heart sank. After calling my doctor frantic and going in right away for a visit, I learned that I had a hematoma in my uterus. Some sort of bleeding during the first trimester affects about 25% of pregnancies, but a subchorionic hematoma only affects about 3%. Basically I spotted all throughout my first trimester and some days were really scary and worse than others. Of course I let my mind wander and many times thought the worst. I was monitored weekly and even out of work for sometime, but thankfully every time we went in for an ultrasound the baby was bouncing around as if nothing was going on. The goal and prayer was that this would resolve itself before the second trimester or it could bring on some major problems. I cannot express how thankful I am that it all worked out and that it did resolve itself. I'm not going to lie, those first few weeks were rough, and I was so scared. It felt like during a time that we should have been celebrating and happy, I was instead terrified to even go to the bathroom. I prayed so hard, I shed a lot of tears, but with each appointment and week that passed I had more and more hope. There was always some sort of little sign that would give me peace in that moment that all would be ok.

We did decide to get some early genetic testing done and also found out the sex of our baby. You can read more about our gender reveal here. While the boys reactions weren't exactly what we expected, we were just so happy to hear we had a healthy baby. It did hit me hard when the boys asked me several times why there wasn't a baby girl in my belly after they seemed to be so convinced they were getting a sister. I would just try to explain to them that maybe one day they would get the chance to be a daddy to an amazing little girl and that their little brother will be so amazing. It was also hard for me when some reactions from others were just like, oh yay another boy, or well at least you already have everything you need. And yes, while we do have most of what we need, I felt really bad deep down that baby boy didn't seem more celebrated. I think the boys also reacted the way they did because I'm sure as much as everyone would have loved to see a baby girl, people put things in their little heads by asking them over and over again if they wanted a baby sister. I know I'm pregnant and emotional, and people mean well, but these comments can have a bigger effect on things than people realize. People would even say to me, oh well you know, it takes a special woman to be a boy mom. I didn't know whether to take that as a compliment or to go off on them. I even had my moments of questioning and wondering if God sees me as this woman fit to raise a tribe of testosterone and what that actually means about me. But regardless, this isn't even the point, this little boy is meant to be apart of our family and we can't wait to love on him. 

Now with all of that behind us, everything seemed to be going as planned. I started feeling some movement which is always a big relief, and eventually was feeling those sweet kicks. We went in for our big ultrasound and even I could kind of tell something was up. I remember making a comment about his profile and why his nose looked different. The main doctor came in after what felt like the longest ultrasound ever, and wanted to take some 3D images to confirm his suspicions. I'm sorry, what did you just say, suspicions? I asked him if they were good or bad and he said that everything would be ok. We then learned that baby boy has a bilateral cleft lip and palate. Of course my heart sank because you never want to hear that your child is anything less than perfect. I was aware of what it was and immediately asked questions about how this happened. We learned that it happens between weeks 6 and 7 during development when the lip area doesn't fuse together properly. It's multi-factorial meaning it could be genetic, hereditary, or also environmental. We learned that he would need surgery and that there would be several doctors with us during the delivery to evaluate him after. We learned that it's a fairly common situation but you see it more prevalent in other countries because those little ones usually don't have surgery or get the treatment they need until much later on. In the US, most cases are taken care of within the first year so it's not as obvious. While we are so thankful this isn't a life threatening situation, it was still hard to take everything in. It felt like my mind was spinning a mile a minute.

The next few days were really rough on me and my heart just broke for him. I tried to remind myself to be thankful we have a fixable problem and that internally he's ok. I still have to prepare myself that he will look different and if it's really only cosmetic (which is what we are praying for) then we will get through this. I had my few moments of crying it out, then my let's deal with this attitude kicked in and how we can get him to where he needs to be. We met with the Chief of the Neonatal Unit at our hospital and he was amazing. He was one of those guys that after you talked to him you almost felt like you knew him for years. He took his time with us and made us feel so welcome. Even though this situation may seem minor to some in comparison to others, he never made us feel that we were less than worth anyone's time. I even had my moments of feeling guilty for feeling bad because at least we have a fixable problem. Walking through the neonatal ICU (which we are praying he never has to visit) really put things in perspective. Those tiny babies are in there fighting for their lives. The Doctor and both Eric were amazing and reassured me that if I didn't feel bad about this situation I probably wouldn't be human.

I told a few friends about what was going on, and several of them who don't even know each other and all on different occasions, told me that if any parents had to go through this it made sense that it was Eric and I. In all honesty, I wanted to say to each of them, what in the heck is that supposed to mean? But after they all followed up by saying almost the exact same thing, I knew there had to be more behind it. They explained that they know our faith is strong, that Eric and I are such a good support system to each other, and that we are a family that can handle this. As much as it seemed like such an odd comment at the time, I also felt a wave of peace come over me. It was one of those moments that was God's way of reminding me that He is with us every step of the way and we will get through this. We believe He has big plans for this little guy's life and we know His hand will be upon him. I've since had moments of reassurance from small gestures such as friends stopping and praying for us, receiving a card in the mail at just the right time, and one of my sweet blogging friends who knew nothing about this situation reached out wanting to make something special for baby boy. It really is amazing how small acts of kindness can carry a person through their moments of struggle and doubt.

I share this not to look for sympathy, but to ask for your prayers and support through this time as we find out more about what we can expect. We will be meeting with surgeons to find out an approximate time frame for surgery (which I'm under the impression won't happen until around 6 months or so) and if it could be just one surgery or if it will need to be multiple. Unfortunately a lot of our questions won't be answered until he's actually here. I ask that you pray for me in my moments of weakness, for strength, for guidance, and that I will be the best mother I can be to my boys. For A and little nugget, that this will be a teachable moment for them to always show love and kindness even when others around us may look different. It can feel like such a catch 22 sometimes and such a faith struggle (if that's even a thing). Of course we are also praying and hoping for a medical miracle but at the same time I need to mentally prepare myself for what we could be faced with.

I also share this in case it might speak to or help someone else going through a tough time. Sometimes you never really know what's going on with someone until you put it out there. Pregnancy is such a beautiful gift and a great blessing, but it can also be an incredibly trying and scary time. As much as I know that we aren't supposed to be fearful, we are also human and perfectly imperfect. It makes me realize even more that even though my baby boy may have a physical deformity, he is still created perfect in every way and will be so loved. 
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