friday’s favorites

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

My favorite things this week…

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{nothing says summer more than going to a baseball game}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{we are becoming regulars at BleakHouse…but really, who could resist Captain Crunch inspired waffles}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{doesn’t this cute chalkboard sign at Mayberry Ice Cream just make you want to cool off with some ice cream}

favorites | polka dots picket fences

{my new go-to dress on these hot, humid July days…so comfortable and breezy}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{exploring the Berlin Painter exhibit at the Toledo Museum of Art}

Happy weekend, everyone!

succulent napkin rings

succulent napkin rings | polka dots and picket fences

Earlier this week I shared the details of the Crafternoon I hosted last week…click here and here if you haven’t read those posts.  After creating terrariums, the guests enjoyed summer style boxed lunches.

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

With the theme of the day being succulent plants, I thought it might be fun to somehow incorporate succulents into the boxed lunches, and I did just that by creating these succulent napkin rings that I attached to the top of the boxes.

succulent napkin rings | polka dots and picket fences

Today I’m sharing the DIY on making these napkin rings…and you don’t need to use succulents, really any flower or small decorative item would work.

succulent napkin rings | polka dots and picket fences

You will need the following supplies…

  • faux succulent stems
  • floral wire
  • green floral tape
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun

succulent napkin rings | oplka dots and picket fences

succulent napkin rings | polka dots and picket fences

succulent napkin rings | polka dots and picket fences

First, you take the floral wire and bend it into a circle, wrapping it around several times.

succulent napkin rings | polka dots and picket fences

Next, wrap the wire with the floral tape.  Just keep wrapping it around the entire circle of wire until it is completely covered in tape.

succulent napkin ring | polka dots and picket fences

succulent napkin ring | polka dots and picket fences

Then cut off a short stem of the succulent you are attaching to it.  Wrap floral tape around it several times to secure it to the wire.

succulent napkin rings | polka dots and picket fences

succulent napkin rings | polka dots and picket fences

Cut off another stem of a succulent and attach it to the wire in the same manner.

succulent napkin rings | polka dots and picket fences

Then I cut off a few of the flower buds and glued them on top of the tape using a hot glue gun.  This hides some of the green tape where it was wrapped several times around the wire.  Then place your cloth napkin inside the napkin ring!

succulent napkin rings | polka dots and picket fences

succulent napkin rings | polka dots and picket fences

So simple, yet it made a big impact against those brown kraft boxes!  I tied them on top of the boxes with jute string, along with a nametag for each box.

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

Such a fun DIY project!  I’m already thinking of some ideas for fall and holiday napkin rings…

summer boxed lunches

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

Yesterday, I shared the details of the Mother Daughter Crafternoon I hosted last week (click here if you haven’t read it).  If you did read it, you know that we created terrariums and then enjoyed summer style boxed lunches.

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

Today, I’m sharing more about those boxed lunches…

I made two different sets of lunches…one for the moms and one for the daughters.

For the daughters, there was definitely more kid fare on the menu…mixed berries, baby carrots with hummus, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and potato chips.  The berries were cut and placed in plastic containers, as well as the carrots.  The potato chips were poured into plastic bags, and the plastic bags were put inside brown paper bags and secured with washi tape.  The sandwiches were made using artisan bread…once assembled, they were wrapped in parchment paper and tied with jute.

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

The moms’ lunch consisted of cherries, cucumbers and red peppers with hummus, French baguettes, and Brie.  The veggies were cut and placed in plastic containers.  The cherries were put in brown paper bags.  The baguettes were wrapped in parchment paper and tied with jute, and the Brie was wrapped in brown kraft paper and also tied.

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

Once all the items were placed in the brown kraft boxes, cloth napkins were attached to the boxes with succulent napkin rings and tied with jute.

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

Aren’t those succulent napkin rings just the cutest?  Just perfect in keeping with the theme of the day!  More on those later…

Various flavors of La Croix, with cactus straws attached to the cans with washi tape, were served for sipping on this hot and humid summer day.

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

Succulent cupcakes were offered as a sweet ending to the boxed lunches.  These were too pretty to hide in a box, so I plated them on wooden bark pedestals.

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

summer boxed lunches | polka dots and picket fences

A simple lunch made more special by the presentation!

And those succulent napkin rings?  I’ll be sharing the DIY on those tomorrow…

 

 

crafternoon…terrariums

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

I recently hosted another Crafternoon at my home!  A friend, who attended my last one, suggested that I plan a Mother Daughter event for the summer.  I thought that would be a fun idea, and I soon began thinking of a craft project that would be appropriate for both moms and their daughters…

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

With the recent popularity of succulent plants and the summer season, terrariums came to mind as the chosen project.   Each mother and daughter will create their own terrarium to take home and (hopefully) grow!

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

I set up for the terrarium-making on our sunporch…perfect in case we spilled some soil, which we did.

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

Each guest chose their container prior to the day of the Crafternoon.  Those vessels were awaiting each person when they arrived.

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

The rest of the supplies were set up on the table in buckets and containers…pebble stones, activated charcoal, succulent/ cactus soil, moss, succulent plants, and items for decorating the terrariums.

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

I printed step-by-step directions for putting together a terrarium and displayed them for everyone to see.

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

Once everyone arrived and caught up on each other’s summer fun, we headed to the porch to create terrariums.  They turned out so cute and each one looked different and unique!

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

I wish I had taken a group picture of all of them, but I forgot…so you’ll have to trust me when I say they looked so cute and colorful.

After the terrarium project was finished, the moms and daughters enjoyed a boxed lunch together.

crafternoon | polka dots and picket fences

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing more about those boxed lunches.  Be sure to check back to find out what I put inside them and how they were packaged to go with the succulent theme of the day…

 

friday’s favorites

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

My favorite things this week…

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{exploring Oak Openings on a family nature walk}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{I could eat this every day…the A.M. Superfoods Bowl at First Watch}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{can’t believe I’ve lived in Toledo for over 17 years, and I’ve never tried a Schmucker’s pie}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{the succulent cupcakes that my friend, Sarah, created for my Crafternoon event…check out her work on Facebook at Sugar Sugar or Instagram at Sugar Sugar Baked}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{the new Curate flavors of LaCroix…blackberry cucumber is my new go-to}

Happy weekend!

shrimp fajitas

shrimp fajitas | polka dots and picket fences

I don’t know about you, but I’m all about simple cooking in the summer!  There are so many other fun things to be doing in the summer than cooking, and besides who wants to heat up the kitchen when it’s already hot outside.

That’s why I love this recipe for shrimp fajitas that I’m sharing today…it’s quick, simple, and it only involves one baking sheet.

shrimp fajitas | polka dots and picket fences

And did I mention how delicious these are?  Add some warmed-up tortillas and some chips and queso dip, and you have dinner covered.  And the best part is that these fajitas only take about 20 minutes to prepare and cook!  How’s that for a simple dinner…

shrimp fajitas | polka dots and picket fences

shrimp fajitas | polka dots and picket fences

Start by chopping the peppers and onion, and then combine them with the shrimp and seasonings in a large bowl.  Mix it all thoroughly and spread it on a baking sheet.

shrimp fajitas | polka dots and picket fences

shrimp fajitas | polka dots and picket fences

shrimp fajitas | polka dots and picket fences

shrimp fajitas | polka dots and picket fences

Then roast the mixture in the oven at 450 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Turn the broiler on and cook another 2 minutes.  While it’s cooking, warm the tortillas so they are ready to serve.

shrimp fajitas | polka dots and picket fences

shrimp fajitas | polka dots and picket fences

Squeeze some lime juice on it when it comes out of the oven, and sprinkle a little cilantro on top.

Okay…so are you heading to the market to buy the ingredients for this yet?


Print

shrimp fajitas

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. shrimp (peeled, deveined, tail off)
  • 1 yellow pepper (sliced thin)
  • 1 red pepper (sliced thin)
  • 1 orange pepper (sliced thin)
  • 1 red onion (sliced thin)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • lime
  • cilantro
  • tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  2. Combine the peppers, onion, shrimp, olive oil, salt, pepper, and spices in a large bowl.

  3. Mix thoroughly.

  4. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

  5. Spread shrimp, peppers, and onions on the baking sheet.

  6. Cook at 450 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Turn the oven to broil and cook for another 2 minutes.

  7. Squeeze lime juice over the mixture after removing from the oven.  Sprinkle fresh cilantro on top.

  8. Serve with the warm tortillas.

 

tea talk

tea talk | polka dots and picket fences

tea talk | polka dots and picket fences

July 4th has come and gone, and that always leaves me feeling a bit melancholy.  I think of that holiday as the halfway point of summer…maybe not for everyone, but for my two oldest it really is.  My middle daughter starts school on August 15th, with my oldest returning to college a few days later.  My youngest is the last to start school again, soooo maybe she hasn’t hit the halfway mark of summer yet!

I start to think…”Have we created fun summer memories?”

And that leads to the question I asked my friends for this month’s tea talk…

“Name three things on your summer bucket list.”

Given the way I’ve been feeling, I really liked #3 on my friend, Julie’s, list.  So keep reading for some ideas on ways to make those summer memories…


 

  • Name:  Meredith
  • Age:  40
  • City:  Ottawa Hills,  Ohio
  • Occupation:  former licensed nursing home administrator…now a household engineer
  • Number of Children:  four
  1.  We always like to go to Ann Arbor and go canoeing on the Argo Livery.  It’s so much fun and you can also rent a tube and float down the river.
  2. All the festivals:  Old West End, Crosby Gardens, Greek Fest, German American
  3. Bike to the Bay…haven’t done this one yet but I want to some year.

  • Name:  Caroline
  • Age:  45
  • City:  San Antonio, Texas
  • Occupation:  mom
  • Number of Children:  one
  1.  Eat at least one meal outside everyday.
  2. Go to the drive in.
  3. Not get swimmers ear.

  • Name:  Jill
  • Age: 47
  • City:  Cincinnati,  Ohio
  • Occupation:  teacher
  • Number of Children:  two
  1.  One thing was to get away this summer…we did not take a trip last year with all the graduation/ college preparation/ work going on.  So, that was one thing (which we accomplished by planning the trip for the minute school was finished).  Even though our trip was simple, we all had a great time together.
  2. Another is to organize and re-fresh the house.  I’d like to set up a workout area and paint the finished lower level a different color.  I’d also like to re-do my office space.
  3. Finally, I want to enjoy time with my girls and my husband.  It seems that time goes by so quickly, and we are very busy (as all families are) running everywhere all the time.  I’d like to find a way to connect with everyone in my little family by establishing routines where we are spending quality time together…sitting in front of the TV together doesn’t count.  I’m finding that all of us are on our phones a lot, too…checking social media and playing games.  It’s not just the kids…I’m on there, too!  We need to find other things to do…maybe game nights or evening walks?

  • Name:  Julie
  • Age:  49
  • City: Sylvania,  Ohio
  • Occupation:  stay at home mom
  • Number of Children:  three
  1.  Clean out my garage.
  2. Help my child firm up her college list as she approaches senior year.
  3. Continue laughing and creating memories while the nest is full.

  • Name:  Lauri
  • Age:  46
  • City:  Ottawa Hills,  Ohio
  • Occupation:  mother, coach, and retired attorney
  • Number of Children:  two
  1.  a bucket of mussels
  2. a bucket of cold ice with Tavel wine
  3. a bucket of hydrangeas

  • Name:  Tammy
  • Age:  49
  • City:  Pauline, South Carolina
  • Occupation:  homemaker
  • Number of Children:  2 daughters, 1 heavenly daughter
  1.  Turn 50 gracefully and celebrate!
  2. Spend more time with my mother.
  3. Make a real bucket list!!

  • Name:  Wendy
  • Age:  47
  • City:  Ottawa Hills,  Ohio
  • Occupation:  financial advisor
  • Number of Children:  two
  1.  I only read 1-2 novels a year.  I hope to finish The Widow of Wall Street this summer.
  2. I’m planning to enjoy some “down time” with family and friends at Catawba Island Club.
  3. I’m getting my son ready to leave for college (NYU)!

  • Name:  Kathy
  • Age:  61
  • City:  Ottawa Hills,  Ohio
  • Occupation:  development officer
  • Number of Children:  one
  1.  Family European trip…visit London, visit family in Chester, United Kingdom, visit friends in Brussels, Belgium and Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
  2. Trip to Santa Fe, NM and Taos Pueblo.
  3. Play more golf with my friends and girlfriends.

I always enjoy reading the variety of answers from my friends!

Whatever it is that you have on your summer bucket list, I hope you are able to find time to accomplish it and make a few memories along the way!

friday’s favorites

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

My favorite things this week…

{my latest find at the antique shop…which I promptly put to good use as a beverage container at our Fourth of July festivities}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{not sure about the taste, but look at that label…our bulldog, Cece Belle, could have been the model}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{my very fun and trendy jewelry that I wore for the Fourth…love those tassels}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{what a great combination…hydrangeas and monograms!  love this super cute hostess gift created by my friend, Lexi}

It was a crazy week at our house…the holiday falling mid-week, and Audrey’s college roommate visited from South Carolina this week.  Therefore, little to no (ok, no) blogging occurred!  I’ll have some new posts up next week…

Happy weekend, everyone!

all american milkshakes

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

Can you believe it is already the end of June?!?  The Fourth of July will be here in less than a week!  Where is the summer going…

Speaking of the Fourth of July, I thought I’d share these fun milkshakes that will put you in a festive mood to celebrate our country’s independence.

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

Don’t these look so festive and yummy…

So here’s how to make some for your friends and family who may be visiting for the holiday weekend.

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

You will need the following supplies…

  • red candy melts
  • blue candy melts
  • white candy melts
  • patriotic sprinkles (red, white and blue stars or jimmies)
  • patriotic gummy candies
  • wooden skewers
  • straws
  • vanilla bean ice cream
  • milk
  • vanilla
  • heavy whipping cream
  • sugar
  • plastic piping bags
  • mason jar glasses

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

First, heat the white candy melts in the microwave until fully melted.   Turn the glasses upside down and dip them into the bowl of white chocolate in order to coat the rims of the glasses in it.  Then, cover the white chocolate with the sprinkles.  This can get messy, so do it quickly and then place the glasses in the freezer to harden.

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

While the rims of the glasses are solidifying, heat the red and blue candy melts in two separate bowls until they are fully melted.  Then, spoon it into two plastic piping bags.  Snip a small hole at the end of each one.

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

Now here’s where it can get tricky…you need to work quickly because it can get messy.  And you don’t want it to solidify on you too soon!  Using the piping bags, squeeze the melted red chocolate at the top of the glass so that it drips down the inside of the glass.  Do this alternately with the melted blue chocolate.  You will start to see a striped glass.  Once finished, place the glasses back in the freezer to harden.

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

While the glasses are in the freezer, mix the ice cream and the milk together in a blender to make the milkshakes.  I use about 2 cups of ice cream and 1/2 cup of milk for each milkshake.

The whipped cream can be made by placing 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and 4 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl and mixing on high speed until medium to stiff peaks form.

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

You can also put together the gummy candies on the wooden skewers, so that they are ready to go in the glasses.

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

Now it’s time to assemble them!  Pour the milkshakes into the glasses, add a scoop of the whipped cream, and top it all off with the gummy candy skewers and a straw!  Oh, and don’t forget a few more star sprinkles on top!

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

Serve these to your guests on the Fourth of July and you may just create some fireworks of your own!

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

all american milkshakes | polka dots and picket fences

Happy Fourth of July!