We made it to my Grandma’s house in record time – whee!


Although the trip started out a tad uh, messy, shall we say, the drive actually went pretty quick. Maybe it was because I plugged my laptop into a power adapter, then harnessed my iPhone’s internet capabilities to create a little mobile office in the car. I worked for the first four hours of the drive, ninja kicking my email inbox and crossing tons of little things off my to-do list. Yes!

It’s been so great to be back at my Grandma’s, but I couldn’t help getting a little choked up as I first walked through the house and backyard, reliving dozens of Christmases and summer vacations spent here in the past. It was weird at first without my brothers or cousins around for the first time ever, and realizing we’re “all grown up” now, but luckily sweet Ben was on hand to lean on AND teach my Grandma fun things like how to play Bejeweled on the iPad. A 93 year old gamer in the making! ;)


Things got even sweeter yesterday when some relatives came in from nearby, including my cousin Lindsay!

Lindsay and I have always been the runts of the family – both 5’2, or under if anyone else has anything to say about it – and crazy personality similarities despite growing up states apart.

She brought her 1 year old daughter with her who charmed the pants off of everyone, all afternoon. She is such a doll. :)

My Aunt, Uncle and cousin Josh also came to visit, which was such a treat. I didn’t grow up around any of my extended family, so it is FAR too few and far between our visits. Any amount of time we get to spend together, even if it’s just an afternoon, is treasured. :)

Today we are off to visit a nearby vacation spot my family and I went to every summer growing up, Oglebay. My Mom went with her family when she was little, then started the same tradition with us. We’d spend a week in a rented cabin, fishing, playing putt-putt, and pedaling the paddle boats around the resort’s lake. Those were the days! :)

Then it’s off to my Aunt & Uncle’s house to partake in their town’s Dean Martin festival (it’s his hometown) and eat ourselves silly on my Aunt’s homemade Italian delicacies. OMG I CAN TASTE THEM NOW. I hope you have something fun planned for this weekend too, and to kick things off, check out my favorite finds from around the web in this week’s Friday Favorites!

Favorite bite: Lime Glazed Mini Bundt Cakes. Goll, these look like they’d just melt in your mouth, don’t you think? My mouth is watering!

Lime Bundt Cakes


Favorite remix: Tex Mex Sloppy Joes. Grown up, spicy Sloppy Joe’s. LOVE this picture too.

Texmex Sloppy Joes

Favorite pooch. Rawr. ;)


Favorite healthy treat: Broiled Brown Sugar Vanilla Bananas atop Ricotta. Caramelized spiced bananas over warm ricotta cheese. Elegant, but easy (and insanely delicious looking!)


Favorite makeover: Pallet Backed Bookshelf. Take an inexpensive bookshelf then replace the back with worn pallet planks. This looks like something you’d find at Pottery Barn!


Favorite view: Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. I want to go to there.


Favorite outfit. I’m obsessed with maxi dresses right now, can you tell? :) Navy and yellow are one of my new favorite color combos too.


Favorite drool: BBQ Pot Roast over Cheddar Ranch Grits. ALL THE THINGS!


Favorite DIY: Baking Sheet Turned Decorative Tray. Cover old baking sheets to make cute, decorative trays. I have so many old, crappy baking sheets I should do this too. I just can’t bear to throw them out!

The Martha Stewart Show

Favorite picnic fare: Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad. I bet this would be the first to disappear at any picnic or BBQ. YUUUUM.


Favorite woah: Lake Retba, Senegal. A PINK lake – HA! Apparently the lake’s hue is due to some harmless bacteria in the water. It’s also got a higher salt content than the Dead Sea, which makes everyone FLOAT like a boat. So cool!


Favorite find: Veggie Storage Cabinets. I absolutely LOVE this idea, as I hate how much room onions, garlic, and other non-refrigerated fruits and veggies take up on my countertops. Definitely working this into my dream home’s kitchen configuration.


Favorite freeze: Meyer Lemon Sorbet. Hot summer days require sweet-tart sorbets. This looks SO refreshing!


Favorite fresh: Summertime Noodles. Fresh, light, and definitely Farmer’s Market Recipe Collection approved.


Favorite helper: Pull Out Cabinet Organizers. A must have for any kitchen with too much stuff. Cough, MINE. :)


Favorite sweet: Slutty Blondies. If craving promiscuous blondies is wrong, I don’t want to be right!


View Past Friday Favorites >

The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook Giveaway

Uh, absolutely drooling over the cookies you named as entries in this delectable giveaway! The winner of The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook Giveaway is:

M. Vivian: mmmmm… oatmeal peanut butter dipped in chocolate.

Congrats, M. Vivian (and why have I never thought of this idea?!) Email your full name and mailing address to IowaGirlEat[email protected], and we’ll get your cookbook right out to you!

Have a great weekend, everyone!