fabulous friday #24

Hi from Ventura, and happy Friday!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Time with my fam! I head back up north tomorrow morning and am soaking up every last minute of time with my sweet family before I go. ❤

family timeme and daddy me and mom

me and Daddy

2. My parents got tickets for us all to see a play last night at the local Rubicon Theater as one of my birthday gifts. Called “Collected Stories” it was a play about two writers, and delved into conflicts of storytelling and questions about who has the right to tell whose story. Very thought-provoking! I was left wanting a little more at the ending, but it was still a very enjoyable night and I’m so glad my parents got tickets for us all to see it together!

collected stories

3. Erica stopped by after work, and it was wonderful to see her for a quick visit! She also brought these delicious homemade cinnamon muffins and strawberry vanilla jam — I’m going to try to get the recipe from her so I can share it with y’all. YUM!

cinnamon muffins

4. I made turkey chili and Gramps came over for dinner. Greg and I are headed out to lunch with him soon at our favorite fish and chips place at the Harbor. Always try to squeeze in lots of Gramps time whenever we are home!

chili

5. Dad got me sunflowers! He spoils me. 🙂 He was waiting for me with these beauties at the airport, which was made even more thoughtful and sweet because my flight was nearly two hours late and didn’t get in until 11:30 at night — he was the only one waiting at baggage claim! I love you so much, Dad!

sunflowers

Bonus: This cutie sleeping beside my bed. I love Mr. Mur-dog.

sleeping murray

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What do you have planned for this weekend?

father’s day recap

Hi friends! How was your weekend? Mine was wonderful + busy — so busy that I didn’t have time to post about Father’s Day until now! Thanks for your patience with me.

I had a busy weekend, but it was busy with good things: delicious homemade food; gluten-free baked goods {new recipe coming soon!}; lunch out with the fam on a beautiful sunny day; shopping with my mom for a dress for her to wear to my cousin Amanda’s wedding {she found the perfect one that looks gorgeous on her!}; after-dinner fro-yo with plenty of toppings; cheering at the TV with my fam as we watch the NBA Finals; curling up with a heartwarming book, Emily Giffin’s Where We Belong; a long, laugh-filled, soul-soothing phone date with my bff Holly; snippets of peaceful yoga time on my new yoga mat {birthday present from my parents, thanks guys!}; a powerfully moving sermon at church about helping others; and my Gramps came over for Father’s Day dinner!

gramps fathers day

And here’s a picture I took a couple weeks ago of my dad, brother, and Gramps on the couch before dinner. I love this photo: three generations all together!
3 generations

At my church, the congregation always sings a song as the children leave the chapel and head off to Sunday school. This week, the words struck me as particularly meaningful:

“How could anyone ever tell you/You were anything less than beautiful? How could anyone ever tell you/You were less than whole? How could anyone fail to notice/That your loving is a miracle? How deeply you’re connected to my soul.”

The lyrics made me think of my dad, who has always made me feel beautiful, whole, loved and connected. {My mom makes me feel this way, too, but my dad was especially on my mind because of Father’s Day!} I count my blessings every day that I have been so lucky to grow up in the warmth of my parents’ unconditional love. For as long as I can remember, my dad has always done little things like opening my car door for me and laughing at my jokes, and not-so-little things like genuinely listening to my thoughts and opinions and telling me that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. He also always, always tells me he loves me and is proud of me. Throughout my life, my dad has been a shining example of how I deserve to be treated — and not just in the way he treats me, but also in the kind and respectful way he treats my mom. I love you so much, Daddy!

father's day

What did you do to celebrate Father’s Day?

what I wore to see “the nutcracker”

Happy Monday, everyone! It is a marvelous Monday for me because I am back home soaking up time with my family! When I am with them, I just feel so joyful and comforted. I love my family!

Yesterday afternoon my mom, Mike and I went to see a local ballet production of “The Nutcracker.” It is a tradition for my mom and me to see it together every year, and it was really nice to have Mike come along this year!

me and mike

The weather in Ventura has been beautiful and sunny — a welcome relief from the cold weather in Indiana — so I decided to take advantage of this and wear a skirt, tights, a short-sleeved blouse and light sweater.

what I wore to nutcracker

{The artwork in the background of this picture is a self-portrait done by my talented brother! Isn’t it great?}

You can’t quite see my shoes in this picture, but they are the same ones I wore to Thanksgiving dinner.

The ballet was terrific as always. Such a talented group of dancers! They amaze me with their poise and grace. And I love the music! It really gets me into the holiday spirit.

Afterwards, we came home and I made healthy turkey enchiladas for dinner. My Gramps joined us, and it was so wonderful to see him!

me and gramps

Hope your week is off to a lovely start! What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

xoxo,
Dallas

lemon bars for my gramps

I have always been especially close with my Gramps — I’m even named after him! {His middle name is Dallas.} I’m really grateful to be home for this week and get to spend time with my family. I love being able to just hop in the car, drive three minutes down the road, and pop into my Gramps’s house to say hi. We usually end up chatting over TCM movies, episodes of M*A*S*H or “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”

Speaking of The Food Channel, my Gramps loves lemony desserts. Lemon meringue pie, lemon cake, lemon sorbet. He was diagnosed with cancer this past December {that is mercifully in remission now} but ever since undergoing radiation his taste buds really crave sour food. So I decided to make him some lemon bars after I was inspired by this recipe on a blog I love, Recipes Happen.

I’d never attempted lemon bars before, but these were easy-peasy and turned out really well! I like the shortbread texture of the crust mixed with the smooth tartness of the lemon and the sweetness of the powdered sugar on top.

gramps’s favorite lemon bars

for the crust:
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1 cup flour
-1/3 cup powdered sugar

for the lemon topping:
– 1 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar
– 3 eggs
– 3 tablespoons flour
– 1/3 cup lemon juice {I used two medium-sized lemons}
– zest from one lemon {about 2 tablespoons}
– powdered sugar to dust on top

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish and set aside.

2. Combine the softened butter, flour and sugar to make the crust. Dough will be crumbly. Press into the bottom of the baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.

3. While crust is baking, make the lemon topping: beat the eggs and add the sugar and flour. Juice the lemon and pour the juice through a sieve to make sure no seeds get into the dessert! Grate the lemon peel and add to the mixture. Blend well.

4. Pour the lemon topping over the hot crust and put back into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

5. When done, lemon bars should be solid in the middle, not soupy. Dust with powdered sugar. I’d recommend letting them cool before attempting to cut them. {I personally think lemon bars are delicious refrigerated!}

Enjoy! Gramps and I sure did! 🙂

Hope you have a wonderful weekend with lots of time with your loved ones,
Dallas

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Time: 40 minutes {including bake time}
Cost: about $3.00