Thursday, July 30, 2015

Perfect Summer/Spring/Baby Shower/Wedding Bottle of Bubbles

The Headlines:

I know it's blue.

But it's great.

Here's why...

I am currently obsessed with a "special occasion" sparkling wine.  I say it in quotes because I often ask, "why does sparkling wine have to be special occasion?" I think, in some cases, it should be opened on a Wednesday with a friend.  To make that Wednesday just a little more superior.

But this wine is a little different than your usual sparkler.  Why?  Because it's....

yup... Blue!

It's called Blanc de Bleu and it's a sort of "turquoise/aqua" color.  In short, it's gorgeous!  I mean really a stunner.  Like stop in your tracks cool.  The bottle and the drink inside.  Perfect for any Spring or Summer event.  Even more perf for a baby shower, Mother's Day, Easter dinner... and clearly the people at the Blanc de Bleu are marketing it to those planning weddings.  You can check out their website HERE - ladies in white are all over the place.  Get it?

Something old, something new, something borrowed something Blue!

Little ol' me just likes to serve it on a sweet Summer day.  I mean it couldn't fit in any better.  Look at this stuff?

Most of my friends are right with me... but there's an occasional one who looks at me a little cross eyed and says, "blue wine is frightening!"   Fair enough, I understand, not your normal champs so here's the deal... it's good.  Not flip your skirt, jump off the high dive fabulous... but good.  When it comes to bubbles it's better than Korbel (much) and not as incredible as Schramsberg (nope).  But it is good.  Especially for the price point.  Word is, it should retail for around or less than $15.  Not bad, eh?  Of course, it'll be much higher at a restaurant/club.  Especially since it's such a beautiful presentation.  Take this bottle to someone as a hostess gift and they're stopping in their tracks.  See, I'm happy!

Don't claim it to be fit for the POTUS... call it what it is... a fun bottle of bubbly!  Technically, it's a Cuvee... made in Northern California starting in 2006.  The back of the bottle claims it carries flavors of premium grapes with a hint of delicate blueberries.  Maybe that's where the blue comes from?  But otherwise, no, I have no idea where it comes from and I really don't care.  

All I know is... I like it.  A lot.  And you will too... if you can find it.  I'm not sure where it's sold so ask your local grocer or wine store to get their hands on it.  Trust me, it's worth it!  Every last blue drop!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What You Learn from a Summer in "La-la Land"

The Headlines:

Here's why Summer break is important...

for the whole family.

You may, or may not, have noticed.  I've been away for a while.  No... not like the Real Housewives of New Jersey "away" just not present on this blog.  I pretty much spent most of July in what I like to call "La-la land."  That's where you sit on the beach, eat too much, catch up with old friends, drink some cocktails, surround yourself with friends/family and do absolutely nothing of great importance.

Sound good?  It is... but not for the reasons you may be thinking.  Turns out there's some real, valid reasons "summering" is necessary for families.  And, as always, I'm here to tell you about them.
Make Family Connections.
First, as you head toward your Summer in "la-la" decide where to go.  Really think about this, it's crucial.  There's about 3 months during the Summer.  That's a lot of time.  So maybe take some of those minutes to re-connect with family.  Consider driving to where most of your family resides, if it's not near you.  See those cousins you only get in touch with once a year.  Spend some, if not all, near or with the people who have the same blood running through your veins.  Your children, will appreciate that.  My daughter always asks about family.  I think she wants to know "where she came from," that she's a part of something bigger and better than just the 4 of us.  I know there's comfort in it.  So, if it's at all possible, make it happen.  You'll be glad you did.

Everyone Deserves a Break.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  Kids work hard during the school year.  At least they should be!  There's lots of reading, lots of homework, lots of sports, clubs, tutoring, I can go on and on and on.  Moms, as I have specified many times on this blog, need a break but, turns out, so do kids.  Summer is a time for doing the fun things you don't get to do during the rest of the year.  Swim at the beach if you live in Kansas, hike the creek if you live in the city, watch a movie if you don't have a television.  Whatever it is... stop what you're normally doing and change it up.  It doesn't have to cost mounds of money but it will require some inspiration.  Find it and it may find you and your children right back!

Throw Out the schedule (but keep the bed time).

Anyone who knows me, knows I like my day, and life actually, planned.  I'm a scheduled person.  Yes, I've been known to plan a play date a month out.  Don't laugh - us Moms are BUSY!  But when "Summering" consider breaking all the normal rules.  Plan nothing, or mostly nothing and see where the day takes you.  Life is one big schedule but it shouldn't be on vacation.   Now, with that said... sleep is important and while you may WANT to let your kids stay up until 10:30 at night because the day is dictating that you should - consider limiting that.  Sleep is crucial for young little minds and if they don't get it... well, you know what happens.  My 4 year old cried on and off one day, all day after going to bed after 10:00.  Let's just say - I won't do that again.  So while you throw out those schedules and turn off your alarm clocks in the morning.  Just remember to get them to bed - on time!

Literally.  Un-plug but tune in to what matters... does that make sense?  When in "la-la" don't even charge those computers, iPads, iPods (ok you probably need your iPhone).  That's why I barely got out 1 blog this month.  I un-plugged.  I'm not a big Twitter/Facebook/Instagram-er anyways... but I got on even less in July!  As far as my kids... they aren't really of the age where they're on line every second now but I know it's coming.  And from what I've heard from parents of older children, it's annoying.  I've talked to those same parents and they say when they insist on their kids tuning in to life and out of their phones, an amazing thing happens: they begin to talk, relate, laugh out loud (not just LOL), experience first hand, real things with each other.  Remember how that was in the "olden days..." like 5 years ago?  Before texting and social media?  Yep, during our "la-la land" vacations... I will continue to insist we all un-plug.  Because during this time, it's much more about being in the moment with you and your loved ones - rather than telling everyone about them.

Which brings me to the last thing I learned while in "La-la land" this Summer... it is truly a time when

Memories are Made.
During this special time, family flashbacks will be imprinted on your child's brain.  Your kids will remember the sand they got in their suits at the beach or camping in a tent at the River.  They'll  appreciate making new discoveries or doing the same thing year after year.  They'll remember the big, exciting events but they'll cherish the small, unassuming moments.  They may expect to make new friends but they'll look forward to seeing the old.  Though they have no idea now, the memories made during these golden and magical months will truly stay with them forever.  Soak it in and live it up.  Plus, take lots of pictures.  You can post on Instagram when the vacation is over!

In the end, you'll learn much more than the 5 things above.  The time you spend in your "La-la land" will teach you things you might not even be able to put into words.  And perhaps shouldn't... just keep the good thoughts in your heart and mind forever.

But with all that said, let's be honest, I'm also REALLY GLAD TO BE HOME!  Yes, sometimes the best lesson is the one you learn when you pull into the driveway...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Best Ice Cream Ever (Remember Thrifty's?)

The Headlines:

Memories keep the heart in check.

This ice cream makes me smile...

It should make you giddy with excitement too.

Yep, just that good!

It's always funny how a sight, a sound or a taste can bring you back to a moment in time.  Good or bad.  Of course, this happens when you least expect it... like in the freezer section of the grocery store.  You say whaaaaaat?

Let me explain...

When I was a little girl money was tight.  But as a special treat, my Dad would take me to get an occasional ice cream cone.  Sometimes at Baskin Robbins... but we'd usually head to Thrifty.  If you've ever lived in the Western part of the U.S. you probably know what I'm talking about.  Think back... remember those square scoops?  And those ridiculously cheap prices!??

Not as cheap as the picture above.  When I was growing up inflation pushed a single scoop to 15 cents.  But their counters looked exactly like this!  

The other key to Thrifty ice cream: it was good.  Really, really good.  This was my favorite flavor:

Chocolate Malted Crunch.  It's chocolate ice cream with chocolate flakes and these little white balls of a kind of malt-type-candy.   They're delish!  I never fully forgot about those light, little sugary pillows on your tongue.  Major yum.  Then, out of the blue,  I found myself staring at the stuff in my (new) local grocer's freezer section (Haggens) and the blast to the past took me right back to my child hood.  I bought it - scooped up that chocolatey goodness to my family and the memories came flooding back!  Even better, I was soon heading home for a holiday visit.  So when we got there... guess where we went?

Yep, right back to where to all began.  They're still scooping up ice cream the same way, in the same store, square scoops and all!  No longer Thrifty's... the store is called Rite Aid and with 4600 locations in 31 states they may have one near you.

The price isn't the same...

with a single scoop coming in at $1.79... ouch!   My advice would be to hit up your local grocer and tell them you want to see it there!  Because...

it's just that good.

Perhaps, even better if you remember eating it as a child.  Yea, I would say life is much sweeter when you get to drive down memory lane on your way to the ice cream store!

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