Our Amazing Trip to Fripp (Island)

Getting back to the real world after a week of vacation is always tough. There is always that small feeling of relief to get back home and back to a regular schedule. But that feeling is short-lived and by the next morning you’re wishing you were back at the beach instead of sorting laundry and cleaning toilets. Well, that’s how I felt anyway! 

This was our first trip to Fripp Island and it will not be our last! Fripp is a small island about thirty minutes past Beaufort, about two hours from Charleston. We absolutely loved it! Instead of telling you all about it, I’m just going to let you look at some {okay, a lot of} pictures. Enjoy!

Of course we went to FI for a week on the beach. But once we got there, we found so much more more!

There was no shortage of wildlife on the island! And yes, those are people-loving deer! And that is the front yard of our beach house!
The kids got to see so many different creatures! A horseshoe crab, a baby shark, a 6-foot alligator and a blue crab.

Jackson loved collecting shells, Camp Fripp {a day camp for kids} and crab legs {this was the look on his face when they placed the plate in front of him}.

Parker Reese loved the sunset cruise, the pool and sandcastles.

Our transportation on the island – golf carts! We traveled all over the island in these fun little carts!
It was a week filled with family fun!

We played hard. There was so much to do on the island. We golfed, played at the parks, went for bike rides and played at the beach and pool.
We played so hard and we all slept very well!

Of course we can’t go to the beach without a family photo shoot. We do it every year!
I’m sure you can tell how much fun we had. But now, back to reality! Hard to believe summer is just about over. Can’t wait to return to Fripp Island next year!

Lowcountry Boil – It’s a Tradition

I think I have the right to claim myself a “Southerner.” I was actually born in Wisconsin, but I’ve lived here, in SC, the majority of my life. But, to be honest, I don’t think I knew what it meant to be a Southerner until I experienced Lowcountry life while living in Charleston. If you haven’t been, put it on your list. It’s an amazing place that includes history, architecture, beaches and delicious cuisine. 
 I had the privilege of living in Charleston for eight years after I graduated high school. What lead me to Charleston? I didn’t even have to get out of the car that day {I was there on a “college day” with my dad visiting College of Charleston}. I knew it was the place for me. Can you blame me? That fall of 1997, my parents moved me into my dorm and drove away. I stayed in there, in Charleston, for eight years. I met the love of my life there, in the Lowcountry. What is the Lowcountry? I’ll let these photos tell it all.

It’s the beach, it’s the marsh, it’s the crabbing docks, the salty smell, the humidity and so much more!
Okay, before I tell you my whole life story {Don’t worry, I will. Bit by bit, as it is appropriate. That’s my style}, let me get on with the purpose of this post. So, I had the privilege of experiencing Lowcountry life and one of its most popular seafood dishes, Lowcountry Boil {some call it Frogmore Stew}. 
 YUM-YUM! This is Lowcountry Boil! It’s an easy, one-pot dish that is so delish on a hot summer day. Especially when you are on the Southeastern coast and can get your hands on fresh, local shrimp! I make it every summer at the beach.
{The recipe below will feed 6 adults but this recipe can be easily adjusted to feed a large group.}

 Start with 3 cloves of garlic, smashed; 1/2 an onion, cut in chunks; 1 large lemon, sliced; 1 pkg. crab boil seasoning bag or 4 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning; 1 tsp sea salt.
Heat a large pot of water on the stove {I fill my pot half full}.

Add garlic, onion, lemon, seasoning and salt to pot, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, bringing water to a boil towards the end of this time.

In the meantime, chop 2 packages kielbasa or smoked sausage, 1 pound new potatoes and 6-8 ears of corn.

Remove lid and add sausage and potatoes to pot. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Add corn and cook for 10 more minutes.

Clean and devein 2 pounds of fresh shrimp. Do not peel.
Add shrimp to the pot and cook five minutes or until pink.

Do not overcook shrimp!

Drain water from pot and dump seafood mixture onto a countertop or tabletop protected with newspaper.

Disgard lemons and seasoning packet.
Serve with fresh lemon slices, cocktail sauce and butter.
This is such a great meal for large gatherings. It is simple and informal, yet a great feast for an outdoor summer party. Serve with some crusty bread, a simple salad, sweet tea, cold beer and some good music and your Southern party is bound to be a success! And if you don’t live in the South? Introduce your friends to something new! 
Glad to be back, but really missing vacation! I can’t wait to share with you our amazing experience on Fripp Island! Stay tuned. . .

Hot Weather and Some Hot Finds

Oh – my – goodness! This weekend was HOT! The heat index here was over 100*! That’s over 100* with humidity {remember, I’m in the South}. This weather means you stay in the air conditioning or you stay in the water! Well, I wasn’t about to spend my weekend indoors, so we headed out to the lake. Just the four of us, and it was so much fun! We found a quiet spot to beach the boat and we played. And we played and we played! When it got to hot, we hopped back in the boat and went for the longest ride {of coursed both boys passed out on the ride!}. It was a great day! 

These are the boys’ “wake boards.” We all know that they are boogie boards, but the boys love pretending to wake board! They can do this for hours!

But that’s not the only reason it was a great day! This day started out fabulous bright and early when I found these.

A matching set of hutch-like dressers for my craft room! They were the answer to my dilemma of what I would put on either side of my work table. I showed you the {wrong} IKEA cube storage that I bought last week. Well, I’m kinda glad it was the wrong one because once I put my work table in the room, I didn’t like the cubes with it at all. And since it was the wrong one, and I had to take it back anyway, I didn’t feel badly about buying these. Not one bit because both pieces cost $30 total!!! Yes, they need a little work, but I’m so excited!
I also want to show you a few other thrifty finds I scored this week.

I know you are looking at that deer picture and thinking, “What the {bleep}?!” I only bought it for the frame. Sorry Buck! I bought a pair of matching brass lamps because I love the shape and the shade and I also found an antique wooden bucket that I’ll use in my craft room. 

I found a milk glass bowl, some bronzed baby shoes with bells {Who the heck gives away bronzed baby shoes? They are precious!} and a metal fan. I have plans for the fan. Stay tuned. . .
One last thing I wanted to share. A couple weeks ago my SIL and I went back to my new favorite place, The Sleepy Poet Antique Mall. It had only been a couple of weeks since our first trip there, but it was so great, we had to go back! 

Here are the goods. An old suitcase that smells really badly when opened, but looks fantastic on the outside! An old cheese plate with dome {to become a cloche, of course}, an old rolling pin and a hand mixer.

 A few old  wooden spools, a framed crocheted doily and an interesting mail sorter. It’s been a couple weeks, I’m ready to go back! I’m addicted to that place! 

I sure hope your weekend was as fabulous as mine! See you tomorrow! I have a little surprise for you!

Tomato Pie

One of my favorite things about summer is juicy, ripe tomatoes fresh from the garden. I can’t get enough of them. And that’s a good thing, because we seem to have an abundance every summer!
What do I do with all of these tomatoes? I could eat a tomato sandwich, smothered in mayo {the ONLY sandwich I will eat mayo on} and sprinkled with salt and pepper, every day! Simply fresh and delish! Another of my favorites? Tomato pie. If you’ve never had tomato pie, it’s a combination of tomatoes, basil and cheese baked in a pie crust. So yummy!

I have tried a couple different recipes for tomato pie and created my own from my two favorites {one from Real Simple Magazine and one from a friend of my mom}. Both are very delicious, but I’ve taken my favorite parts from each and combined them to make my own “Tomato Pie.” Here is my recipe.

Slice enough fresh tomatoes to make about four cups {approximately 5-8 tomatoes}. I use whatever tomatoes I have, usually a combination of Romas and Big Boy. Important: place tomatoes in a colander for several minutes to remove some of the liquid.

I’ve told you before, I do not make my crust nor my cakes from scratch! I love good food, but I love simplicity even more! Sandra Lee totally stole my philosophy when she created Semi-Homemade! Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts work great for me! Remove them from the package, unroll {carefully} and place in a pie dish. Easy!

Lay the tomatoes evenly around the bottom of the crust. You should have enough to start a second layer as well. Sprinkle 1 chopped green onion, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano,  and salt and pepper to taste {careful on the salt, the cheese and mayo will add quite a bit of saltiness}.

Mix 1-1/2 cups shredded SHARP cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup mayonnaise in a bowl.

Dollop the mayonnaise mixture  on top of the tomatoes mixture.

Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top and place in a 350* oven for 45-55 minutes or until edges are browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

 Slice and serve! I paired mine with a BLT. I told you, I can never get enough tomatoes! Happy summertime!

Tomato Pie
1 refrigerated pastry crust
5-8 ripe tomatoes, sliced {any variety}
1 scallion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped {or 1/2 tsp dried}
salt and pepper 
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese, separated

  • Preheat oven to 350*. Place tomatoes in a colander and allow to drain for several minutes. 
  • In the meantime, line a pie pan with the refrigerated pie crust. Lay tomatoes in the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with green onions, basil, oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a bowl, combine mayonnaise and 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese. Dollop mayonnaise mixture evenly on top of tomato mixture. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. 
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes or until edges are browned. Allow to cool for five minutes. 
  • Slice and serve!
Guess what? Today I’m also guest posting over at The V Spot! Be sure to drop by to take a look at my baby shower wreath tutorial!

Lemonade Sweet Tea

Whew, today was a hot one! A great day for a nice refreshing glass of Lemonade Sweet Tea!
At this point of the summer down here in the South, we are either indoors enjoying the air conditioning, or outside in some kind of water. Today we headed out to the lake. The boys played hard! So hard that this is what happened on the way back to the dock. . .
Ha ha! They were wiped out! It was a fun day! 
Okay, back to the recipe. 
I ripped this recipe out of a Southern Living Magazine awhile back and make it very often during the hot summer months. It’s super easy, very yummy and so refreshing. 

3 cups water
2 family-size tea bags
1 package fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups cold water
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate

Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan. Remove from heat, add tea bags, and stir in fresh mint. Cover and steep 10 minutes.

  • Discard tea bags and mint. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Pour tea into a 3-qt. container, and stir in 4 cups cold water and lemonade concentrate. Serve over ice. Garnish with lemons and mint, if desired.

Serve over ice. Now sit back, relax and enjoy summertime!

  • Hope you had a fantastic weekend!

How to Roast Peppers

It’s pepper season! Do you have a garden with lots of peppers and aren’t sure what to do with them? Try roasting them. You know, like those ones you buy in the jar near the olives? Except when you do it yourself, they taste so much better! Never thought of doing it? You think it’s too difficult? Not at all, my friends! It’s so simple and it can be used to roast any pepper {red, chiles, pablanos, etc}. 

Give your peppers a good cleaning.

Cut them in half and remove the pulp and seeds.
 you are using hot peppers, watch out! Those insides can get on your fingers and then in your eyes. Yikes!

Move the oven rack to the highest position and turn the broiler on high.

 Place the peppers {cut side down} on a baking sheet and brush with oil. I like to use extra virgin olive oil.

Place the peppers under the broiler, close the door and keep a close watch. “Why?” you ask. 

Because after just a few minutes, the skin will start to bubble and turn black. Let them roast about 10 minutes.

Immediately remove the peppers from the baking sheet and place them in a sealed plastic bag.
Let them sit for about fifteen minutes. The steam trapped in the bag will help loosen the skin on the peppers.

After about fifteen minutes, take the peppers out of the bag and the skins should be able to be pulled right off using tongs. 

Discard the skins and use the peppers for whatever you like. I used these for a chicken poblano chili recipe.

If you have red and yellow peppers in your garden, roast one of each, let them cool and chop them. Layer mixed greens, roasted peppers, toasted pine nuts and feta cheese in a large bowl. Toss with Asian dressing {I like Kraft’s Asian Toasted Sesame}. I know this sounds kinda funky, but it is one of my favorite salads! 

Summer Porch Decor

It started with a chair from Goodwill that cost just $12. It reminded me of some chairs my parents had when I was little. It was in almost perfect condition. Even the paint looked good. It just needed to be cleaned. I kept walking but in the end, left the store with the chair.

I went from Goodwill to Home Depot to pick out the perfect color of  paint to fix this baby up. I left with  Krylon Bright Idea.

Two coats later, my pretty chair was good as new and a bright sunny yellow!
On to Hobby Lobby to find some things to add to my new chair.
A straw wreath, some fabric, buttons and yarn came home with me.

I already showed you my summer wreath tutorial a couple weeks ago. Besides the yellow paint, it was the inspiration for my summer porch makeover.

I had lots of extra fabric and a pretty yellow {but boring} chair. Hello, PILLOWS!

I added a simple square pillow and a monogrammed bolster pillow to complete my chair.
I’ve given you a full tutorial on how to make a monogrammed bolster pillow here.
Some bright {and of course, matching} flowers.
It ended with a welcoming porch that screams “Happy summer!”

Welcome to our home!

Decorating for Summer: Front Door Wreath

A couple of months ago I shared with you the baby girl wreath I made for my friend Cindi for her baby shower. Well since making the wreath for her, I’ve been wanting something similar for myself. And what better way to decorate my door for summer than with a summer rosette wreath?
Here’s how I did it. . .
You’ll need a straw wreath {I found mine at Hobby Lobby near the grapevine wreaths}, yarn, coordinating fabric, buttons and a hot glue gun.
To be honest with you, I don’t think I’ll EVER do the yarn part again. For my friend’s baby shower I wrapped the wreath with burlap fabric strips which was pretty simple. I like the way the yarn wreaths look but man, it was time consuming! I sat on my couch and wrapped the wreath for almost two hours! Seriously, it took the entire episode of American Idol to wrap this thing in yarn! Maybe it’s because I’m slow, maybe it’s because I’m a perfectionist, I don’t know. It took forever! Anyway, I taped the yarn to the plastic covering and started wrapping it around and around and around. I did three layers filling in the spaces as I went.

Next I made the flowers. I decided to use both rosettes and layered petal flowers for this wreath.Click here for photos and tutorials on making both these flowers. 
Once the flowers were finished I added the buttons to a few and arranged them around the wreath.

I used hot glue to secure the flowers and tied a grosgrain ribbon around the top to hang it.

And there ya go! My new summer wreath!