Summertime

Yikes. I know…I’m about 4 months behind on posting anything! I promise a long post about our big overseas adventure is in the works but man it’s a lot of stuff to process so in the meantime let’s jump ahead to something more recent.

July was a busy, fun month for the Joneses!  We got to spend lots of time with family and friends enjoying good food, some good weather and lots of wonderful memories made along the way.

The month started off with the 4th in the middle of the week which was an odd way to celebrate this year but turned out to be really great actually.  Adam and I invited over a few of our closest friends to enjoy a small barbeque, some drinks and games and watch the fireworks show at our place.  Last year, we had found out that the clearing on the corner from our house has an excellent view of the show that the city puts on every year in Buffalo Bayou Park.  Neighbors from all around the ‘hood bring folding chairs and sit out along the street to enjoy the show.  Having the Fourth of July fall on a Tuesday made it the perfect plan so that no one was traveling extra far, nor staying out too late, so we could all make it to work the next day.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love to host guests, for any occasion! It gives me a chance to try my hand at being creative with the menu and the decorations which I’m inspired mainly by other super creative minds on Pinterest. But since this party was a last second get together planned by my husband, I opted to keep it simple and really do very little. I purchased festive plates, napkins and some flags from Party City and found a simple star decoration at Target to hang up in the living room.Adam was in charge of the meal: Burgers, fries, and potato salad, while I focused on sides and deserts: which is really my forte.  This year I went back to a simple poke cake with whipped topping and of course my traditional fruit & pretzel flag platter. For sides, I threw together this fabulous broccoli salad which I found for Memorial day on Pinterest (I opt to leave out the kale but I’m sure it’s fabulous with also).  My mother-in-law sang its praises and she is a master at cooking and hosting so I knew it was a keeper.

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The day was incredibly hot, as most summer days are here in Houston and so it made bags and any outdoor activity just a bit unbearable but we all squeezed in at least one game before we were completely soaked in sweat and needed to come in for some cooling off. We finished the evening with some homemade ice cream that Adam and I created in our brand new old school maker!  We had so much fun figuring it out together and were so happy to have the chance to share a favorite summer treat this year with very special friends.

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Moving on to July 16th, my newest nephew was baptized in Chicago and I was so blessed to be asked to stand with him as his godmother.  Adam & I flew out to Chi-town early afternoon on Friday and we were able to get in with plenty of time to take in some dinner and drinks in town with my brother & sister-in-law.  We decided on something quick for dinner but oh so delicious: Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. The batter was a bit spicy but just amazingly flavorful.  I definitely recommend this place if you want some good fried chicken.  Afterwards we headed back to claim our table at Aviary.  Many of you have probably heard of this place or been there once but it’s basically a culinary experience only for cocktails.  The entire kitchen area is made up of mixologists or prep staff, there were probably 10 of them in the “kitchen” mixing and slicing and infusing.  It takes a while to get a drink here because presentation is everything.  I joked about the whole experience because it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  Houston has its fair share of craft cocktail bars but nothing as intense as this. I saw a guy peel a lemon for seriously, like 15 minutes; inspecting and checking the peel and pausing along the way to ensure he has, what I can only imagine is the perfect twist.  The total experience is definitely reflected in the price but it was worth it to be able to taste some elaborate and interesting creations.  We were definitely impressed. Below are some shots of what we tried.

I found out prior to our trip to Chicago that Adam had never seen “The Bean” or gone up the Sears Tower, errr I’m sorry Willis Tower.  So Saturday we spent walking around Millenium Park and taking some good shots with the infamous bean.  We eventually made our way to Navy Pier with my family, which was somewhere I had never been.  We didn’t get to head up Willis and take in those breathtaking and adventurous sights on the glass ledge but maybe next time.  It was a beautiful day out and perfect for a walk!  We all turned in early on Saturday so we could be up and ready to enjoy little Levi’s big day!

There is so much joy in being an aunt and since all my family lives hours from each other, it’s so nice to soak up as much time with my nephews when we can. I love being able to see each of them grow; they change so much every day.  Levi has been such a joy to watch. From a tiny little baby to this heart stealing 6 month old, I’m so blessed we have been able to snuggle and love on this little man many times this year.  I was so proud of how well he did during the baptism and I look forward to watching him grow into a faithful and sweet young man.  As we were making our way to the airport we found out our flight home was cancelled. At the time it was a huge stress but looking back now, it really was a blessing in disguise to get to spend one extra night with the family and sneak in a few extra smooches on our sweet little guy.

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Godparents

The following weekend Adam’s cousins came down from Denver. We hit up the town Friday on a small brewery tour and then headed to catch some rays in Galveston.  It was a treat to have them here, we always enjoy their company!

Finally the month ended with my brother and sister-in-law coming home to Houston for our wonderful friends Kristin & James’ wedding.  We enjoyed exploring some new spots and some old spots and being with amazing company.

July was over in a flash but we sure did make tons of memories to cherish a lifetime.

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