In My House

Which is Harder: Backing Out of the Garage or Squeezing into a New Swimsuit?

I hit my driver’s side mirror on the side of the garage door while backing out today. Again. I shrugged it off. I do this about once a month. My car is tiny so I have absolutely no excuse. I live in cattle country where a lot of women can back up a Ford F-150 pulling a trailer in their sleep while applying lipstick. Not me, girl.

Speaking of no excuses and squeezing into tight places, it’s swimsuit season. I was planning to be in super awesome shape by mid-June, but the baby weight (yeah, I know, she’s 14 moths old now) lingers. I don’t feel anywhere near as svelte as I would like to be, but I am getting back into a fitness routine that I can follow at least part of the time. I put the swimsuit on anyway.

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As I was splashing in our hotel pool with my two daughters I totally forgot about the added pounds. I forgot about my work stress and my endless list of tasks to accomplish. My daughters don’t care about a few extra pounds (even though they put them there). They just want to have fun in the pool with their mommy.

As women we are usually our own toughest critics. What it boils down to is that if my daughters feel loved and I am taking the time to care for myself so I have the energy to care for them, I consider myself successful. I will never look like a Victoria’s Secret model or completely cross off every item on my ever-growing To Do List, but there’s more happiness in a little bit of imperfection any day. And please be sure to tell that to my husband when he finally notices the dings in the side of my garage door.

 

 

 

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In My House

My Favorite Dresses for Summer (All Under $50)

I’m a fan of wearing dresses year-round, but especially in the summer. Dresses are my go-to for work and play. To me, they win hands down against jeans or pants any day of the week. Here are six of my favorites for summer. I own the top three and frequently wear them. I have not purchased the bottom three, and probably won’t because of my strict one-in-one-out closet rule, but they’re three gorgeous dresses that someone out there should be buying and wearing. (Let me know if that someone is you.) All of these picks are under $50.

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1. This black wrap dress also comes in red. It is comfortable and requires zero ironing. It has been my recent favorite for work. (Gap) 2. I usually shy away from horizontal stripes, but the fit of this dress makes all the difference. I wore this one to a friend’s wedding and plan to sport it many more times this summer. (J.Crew) 3. This dress makes me think of the 1940s, and we all know I love everything about 1940s fashion and décor. I have been pairing this with tights, ballet flat, and a cardigan for work, and bare legs and strappy sandals for weekend plans. (Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s) 4. The floral pattern of this dress caught my eye. I think it can easily be transitioned to fall, too. (ModCloth) 5. This dress looks romantic, but also super comfy and I’m a huge fan of ties at the waist. (Loft) 6. This looks like a great casual dress for chasing the kids around the park or even wearing as a swimsuit cover-up. (Anthropologie)

Food

A Fun Summer Dessert (and a Fourth of July Recap)

The fact that the Fourth of July fell on a Wednesday this year meant the day stayed simple without feeling obligated to cram travel plans into a three-day weekend. We stayed home, walked down to our small town’s parade, and hosted my parents for a cookout on the deck. We were asleep before the fireworks and that was OK.

July 4 2018 (1)

July 4 2018 (2)

July 4 2018 (4)

July 4 2018 (3)

I made this super tasty no-bake dessert to celebrate the birthdays of both America and my mother. It’s a variation of a recipe I found in an old family cookbook, the kind where church potluck favorites reign supreme. I used strawberries and blueberries for a patriotic look, but you could play around with all kinds of fruit combinations. Keep enjoying summer, everyone!

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Recipe:

  • 3 sleeves of graham crackers (whole)
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 3.4-ounce packages of instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 1/2 cups of cold milk
  • 1 carton of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 carton of fresh blueberries
  • 12 ounces Cool Whip (or homemade whipped cream)
  • 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips

 

  • With an electric mixer, cream together the instant pudding mixes and the cream cheese.
  • Gradually add the cold milk.
  • Fold in the Cool Whip, reserving enough Cool Whip to coat the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan.
  • Spread a small amount of Cool Whip in the bottom of the pan.
  • Place one layer of whole graham crackers in the pan, breaking them apart if needed.
  • Place a layer of pudding mixture over the graham crackers and sprinkle (or carefully place if that’s your thing) the fruit over the pudding layer.
  • Do another layer of graham crackers, followed by pudding, followed by berries.
  • You’ll do three layers total, ending with the pudding/fresh berries on top.
  • Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave and spoon over the top layer. (I spooned it into a plastic bag and cut off the corner to create a little piping bag.)
  • Chill at least four hours (overnight is even better.)
In My House

A New Look: A HOUSE WITH CHARACTER is Three!

You’re in the right place, friend! A HOUSE WITH CHARACTER recently turned three and with that birthday, comes a new look for the blog. I hope you like it and find it easier to read and navigate. Thank you for continuing to read, comment, and share. Without you, the blog wouldn’t be possible.

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Adventures

Holding onto Three

Any parent will tell you how quickly time flies. Any grandparent will tell you if you blink, suddenly your little ones are grown and starting families of their own. And great-grandparents? Don’t even get them started on the swift passage of time.

I was excited to celebrate my daughters’ transitions to age one and my oldest turning two, and then three. Each of those milestones meant new experiences, as the personality of this sweet little thing bloomed and flourished. While I’m looking forward to the fun that age four will bring, I am feeling the need to dig my nails into time and tell it to SLOW DOWN! Slow down and let me absorb each and every wonderful moment that having a three-year-old daughter brings.

June 2018

Three is downright magical. It’s the perfect balance of capability, enthusiasm, and innocence. A three-year-old makes everything exciting. Mine in particular is sensitive, sweet, funny, and unapologetically girly.

So while bidding age three adieu is bittersweet, I look forward to the joy that age four will bring. The really beautiful thing is we get to anticipate the experience of age three again as this delightful girl’s precious baby sister grows.

I recently read a blog post written by a mother of a boy who passed away suddenly at a young age. She urged us as parents not to mourn our children getting older, but to be thankful for every one of those birthday celebrations because nothing is certain. Getting to know our children at every unique and beautiful age is truly a blessing, even if we don’t think we’re quite ready for them to grow up.

 

In My House

For All of Your Unicorn Shopping Needs

We are gearing up for an extra special, unicorn-themed fourth birthday next month and unicorns are pretty much the topic of conversation at our house these days. I apologize in advance to those of you who are tired of the unicorn craze because I’ll admit I’m loving it just about as much as my daughters do. Here are a few favorites.

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1. This cupcake set is perfect for a birthday or just to jazz up a rainy Sunday afternoon. (Williams-Sonoma) 2. My girl will be sporting this unicorn balloon animal tank to her fourth birthday party. (Cat & Jack for Target) 3. Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s sequel to Uni the Unicorn is full of colorful illustrations and tells an uplifting tale. (Available on Amazon.com, but try your local independent bookstore first. We love Mitzi’s Books in Rapid City, South Dakota.) 4. This unicorn pattern makes these great insulated lunch bags extra special. I love that the inside can be easily washed with soap and water or a Clorox wipe. (Pottery Barn) 5. Unicorn boots to add pizzaz to the rainy days we have been having lately. (H&M) 6. I haven’t ordered this unicorn tank (yes, for grown women) yet, but I’m seriously considering. (ModCloth)

 

In My House

Jord Watch Giveaway Winner

The winner of the gift card giveaway from Jord is Joan. You should’ve already received your gift card code via email. Please reach out to me at katie@ahousewithcharacter.com with any questions.

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Thank you to Jord for sponsoring this giveaway and to everyone who entered.