friday’s favorites

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

My favorite things this week…

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{exploring the children’s garden at the 577 Foundation}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{celebrating some early birthdays before Audrey goes back to college}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{haven’t read the book yet…but after seeing the movie, I feel like I should}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{trying to spend as much time with Audrey before she heads back to college for her second year…AND why can’t time just stand still}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{taking a walk along the water front in downtown Perrysburg}

Happy weekend, everyone!

my “new” organized pantry

my "new" organized pantry | polka dots and picket fences

I’ve lived in my house for almost nine years, and in that time I’ve grown to very much dislike my kitchen pantry.  At first, our pantry wasn’t too bad because it was bigger than what I had at our former house.  However, over the years it has caused much frustration!

Here’s the reason…

  • the shelves in the back were narrow
  • large cereal boxes didn’t fit anywhere
  • items became buried in the back
  • the swinging shelves took up space, but not much fit on them
  • the shelves dictated the size and shape of what you placed on them

my "new" organized pantry

my "new" organized pantry | polka dots and picket fences

See what I mean…

Let’s just say a trip to Costco wasn’t so much fun anymore…I couldn’t find the space to put away the items I had just purchased!!

And I wasn’t the ONLY one frustrated!  Enter my oldest daughter, Audrey, who is home from college for the summer…

Let me start by saying that Audrey is super organized and very efficient, and she thrives on making spaces organized and run efficiently.  We had many discussions about making this space more user-friendly without totally tearing apart the kitchen.

So while I was enjoying Paris, she (along with our local contractor, who also happens to be our neighbor and friend) set about re-doing my pantry.

my "new" organized pantry | polka dots and picket fences

First, the existing shelves and swinging shelf doors were torn out and replaced with top to bottom shelving.

my "new" organized pantry | polka dots and picket fences

my "new" organized pantry | polka dots and picket fences

Once the shelves were installed, Audrey got busy organizing the contents.  She grouped the food items by categories and used various types of containers for storage.  All the baskets, stacking bins, the lazy susan, and the canisters came from The Container Store, and I’ve provided links to the products below.

my "new" organized pantry

my "new" organized pantry

my "new" organized pantry

my "new" organized pantry

my "new" organized pantry

my "new" organized pantry | polka dots and picket fences

my "new" organized pantry

my "new" organized pantry

I love how she labeled everything!  I think she did that so that I keep it organized when she goes back to college!!

What a wonderful surprise it was to return home from our trip to a better functioning and more organized space!  Remember…those product links are below.

my "new" organized pantry | polka dots and picket fences

my "new" organized pantry | polka dots and picket fences

white steel wire stackable baskets

storage baskets with handles

white basket with wood handles

clear divided stackable plastic bins

clear divided plastic lazy susan

plastic rectangular canisters

black bin clip labels

removable chalkboard labels

 

 

 

 

 

friday’s favorites

favorites

My favorite things this week…

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{my new favorite yogurt…thank you Delta Airlines for serving this on my flight}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{some families do back-to-school haircuts…we do back-to-school pedis}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{squeezing in some last minute summer fun with a trip to Cedar Point}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{have you been following my countdown birthday gifts to Grace over on Instagram…surprised her with 17 cactus items, and these are a few of my favorite ones}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{mother daughter tea time at Clara J’s Tea Room}

Happy weekend, everyone!

what i ate in paris

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last week, and boy did we celebrate!  We spent the week in Paris exploring, sightseeing, shopping, and OF COURSE eating.

It’s always fun to try new foods when traveling to a new area.  So today I’m sharing my favorite things that I ate while in Paris…

ESCARGOTS

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

I had never tried escargots…so when my husband suggested that we order them, I assumed he had eaten them before.  Well, no he had not!  It was a comical scene when our waiter set them on the table and we just looked at each other with puzzled expressions on our faces.  Thank goodness for iPhones and google…we quickly learned how easy it was to get to the snail.  And so yummy!  For the rest of the week, I searched the menu at every restaurant we visited for escargots…I didn’t want to leave Paris without having them again!

CROISSANTS

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

Of course, we have croissants here in the States but there is something different about the ones in France.  I resisted eating those buttery, flaky pastries the first few mornings…I’d rather have some protein in the morning.  I soon realized I was missing out!  Bring on the jam!

MUSHROOM RAVIOLI

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

My friend, Julie, recommended the restaurant, Georges, to us.  I’m so glad she did!  As if the breath-taking views of the city from atop the restaurant weren’t enough, this mushroom ravioli with truffle sauce definitely put Georges on our favorite list.

GELATO 

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

We visited Italy about six years ago, and gelato stands could be found on every street corner…so I assumed gelato was an Italian treat.  Well, gelato is just as popular and plentiful in Paris.

In addition to gelato stands, we found a beautiful gelato tea room, Il Gelato Del Marchese.  It was such a cute place that I coerced my husband into going in for an afternoon snack.  What a treat for the eyes…and the tastebuds!

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

And what’s better than gelato, BUT gelato topped with macarons!  We discovered a place called Amorino near our hotel.  They made gelato look like a work of art by scooping the gelato into the cone so that it looked like a flower and then placing a macaron on top.  The macaron was the “icing on the cake!”

MACARONS

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

Speaking of macarons, a visit to Paris isn’t complete without sampling some!  We loved our visits (yes, we made more than one) to Laduree…the macarons were so beautifully displayed and tasted soooo fresh.  And so many flavors from which to choose!

BERGERE SALAD

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

When I saw goat cheese listed as an ingredient on this salad, I immediately knew what I was ordering for dinner our first night in Paris.  Hard boiled egg, ham, and honey, combined with goat cheese on mini toasts…the sweet and savory flavors were just delicious!

CHEESECAKE

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

Prior to our trip, my friend, Carey, shared with me that Hotel Costes is a hotel bar/ restaurant that Kim Kardashian visits for their cheesecake.  I was somewhat intrigued and did a little “google research.”  Apparently, Kim admitted to flying all the way to Paris just for their cheesecake.  Well, I figured this cheesecake must be good…so I convinced my husband to go there late one evening after we saw a show at Moulin Rouge.  Oh my goodness…I’ve never tasted cheesecake so good and creamy, and the crust was perfect!  They even serve it with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream on top.  I’m not sure I would fly all the way to Paris for it, BUT if I’m ever in Paris again I will stop by Hotel Costes for some dessert!

CREPES

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

Just like gelato and macarons, you can’t walk down a street without finding a crepe stand.  Nutella, jam, bananas…lots of ways to make them!  And they eat them for breakfast and dessert, and everything in between!!

SOUFFLES

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

Our last night in Paris, we ate dinner at Le Recamier.  It happened quite by accident…we discovered the restaurant where we had reservations was closed when our taxi pulled down the street.  Our taxi driver was so kind…he called the owner of Le ReCamier and arranged for us to have a table at his place.  He personally escorted us there and introduced us to the owner/ chef.  The menu had a few selections of souffles, and we thought it seemed like such a French thing to eat.  So cheese for me and mushroom for Phillip!  Of course, there were dessert souffles…chocolate, vanilla, raspberry.  It was such a great dinner, and I’m so thankful to our taxi driver for “saving” us that evening.

LE JULES VERNE     

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

what i ate in paris | polka dots and picket fences

Finally, my absolute favorite dining experience was the night of our anniversary!  My husband planned this months ago and we celebrated with a dinner at Le Jules Verne, the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower.  I can’t even begin to tell you how magical it was…the nightime views of the city, the twinkling lights on the Eiffel Tower, the superior service of the wait staff, and the six course dinner.  A night I won’t ever forget!

We definitely enjoyed trying some new foods while in Paris…it’s a good thing that we walked on average seven miles a day while on our trip!!!

 

 

 

friday’s favorites

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

My favorite things this week…

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{enjoying sweet cornbread with feta during an impromptu lunch date with a friend at Plat 8}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{having everyone home for a fun game of Scattergories}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{gorgeous garden roses from Schramm’s Flowers}

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

{watching Claire perform in the annual water ballet show at our club}

Happy weekend, everyone!

You won’t see any new blog posts next week…you can follow me on Instagram to see my adventures, though.

I’ll be back the week of August 7th with some new posts AND I have some exciting changes coming to the blog in the next month, so stay tuned!

my morning smoothie

green smoothie | polka dots and picket fences

We all have our morning routines…I’m sure most of your mornings begin with coffee or tea!  If you know me, you know I am a tea drinker (a hot tea in the morning, followed by iced tea the rest of the day).

I added another beverage to my mornings about eight months ago…a “green smoothie.”  Now I know that there are so many smoothie recipes out there, but I’ve found that I really like this one for many reasons.

green smoothie | polka dots and picket fences

First, I love the flavor and consistency of it…not to mention that I’m already getting a serving of veggies in my body early in the day!  And I love how filling it is…I’m not hungry for several hours after drinking it!

green smoothie | polka dots and picket fences

I also like that there are only four ingredients…most of which I already have in my kitchen on a regular basis.

  • banana
  • baby spinach (a large handful)
  • pineapple chunks (1 cup)
  • low fat vanilla yogurt (1 cup)
  • plus water and ice

green smoothie | polka dots and picket fences

I just throw the banana, pineapple, baby spinach, yogurt, and one cup of water in the blender and mix until throughly combined.

green smoothie | polka dots and picket fences

green smoothie | polka dots and picket fences

Once fully combined, I throw in a handful of ice cubes and mix again.

green smoothie | polka dots and picket fences

And it’s all done and ready for pouring!  I refill my glass with it a few times throughout the morning as I go about the rest of my routine…

green smoothie | polka dots and picket fences

 

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…