It’s been a full week of back to school and, man oh man! I think we’ve all actually survived.

Friday-Faves

The alarm went off without a hitch every day, Smudge made her own school lunches (glory be, I love 5th grade!) and I somehow didn’t forget to pick her up even once after school! Pat on the back for this mama and thank you for iPhone alarms.

Before you know it, she’ll be making her bed every day before school. Hey, a mom can dream, right?

Last weekend we were in South Eastern Utah among the red rocks of Capitol Reef for the reunion show of my husband’s punk band, Big Face. The rocked it and I was so proud of my boy!

He didn’t know I was going to mention this so when my husband asked me if I said anything about him in this week’s list, I hedged. “Why would I say anything about you?” I asked. “Because it’s Friday,” he replied. “And I’m your fave.”

Ahhhh. Yep, he is.

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He likes to pull this same pose every morning while gazing in the mirror. It’s his version of sun salutations. *wink

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On the drive down we stopped for a good old greasy burger and fries. Nothing says comfort food like a mountain lion watching you eat.

So what’s in store for this long holiday weekend?

We have low-key plans to finish out these dog days. While others are recovering from their Fantasy Football League draft pick sessions, we’ll be spending the final hours of summer at the pool to eek out that last bit of sunshine for a true blue Malibu Barbie tan. Then it’s time to bbq with friends on the deck, and…FUN…rip out the carpet in Smudge’s room thanks to a certain dog who even after two years doesn’t seem to get the concept of potty training when she doesn’t feel like it.

On that note, let’s get to our Friday Faves. 

Pippa

This is Pippa. Do you remember her from this video? She’s the potty training challenged dog we love and adore. I think she’s just lazy and once in a while simply picks the nearest place to do her thing, but we’re working on it.

#Pro-potty-training-tip: My carpet cleaner said to NEVER use a detergent based spray on your carpet when there’s an “accident.” Revolve and Oxy Clean are no-no’s because even months later when the carpet cleaner comes in to professionally clean the carpets, the potty spot turns into a bubbly mess because the detergent has soaked into the carpet and pad, there forever. Instead, use an Enzyme based cleaner like Nature’s Miracle or Bio-Kleen. No bubbles and a better clean-up.

More puppies, please…

Wednesday was #NationalDogDay and I saw some of the cutest pics of my friend’s pups on Facebook. I’m a huge fan of animal rescue, and then I saw this and my head screamed DON’T BUY ANIMALS PEOPLE!  I’ve helped place hundreds of dogs over the years, but these guys are the real heroes of dog adoption. Makes my heart do flip flops.

Now, let’s talk back to school.

It seems like it’s pretty much all that anyone is talking about this week is getting the kids back into the school routine and all the tips on how to do it. If you’re on Facebook, it’s pretty much a sure thing you took notice of all of us proud parents polluting your feed with pictures of our kids in their first day best. Unless they’re in high school. Then they found a way to dodge the first day photo bullet.

We hit Target for all of this year’s school supplies (yea for Target!), but honestly, thanks to this line’s smart design style and because I’m such a sucker for anything that has to do with paper, I’m loving the stuff we got even more than Smudge.

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We bought Target’s line of Yoobi school supplies that donate to kids who are in need. And yes, I definitely got a collection of products for myself.

and then…

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I just HAD to get these folders. In 3 different colors. Smudge didn’t get any. Mom for the win.

All this back to school talk has given me the itch to get my own crap in order. And by crap, I mean my life. It happens with pretty much every change of season. Once again I’m inspired to tie up those loose ends that the frivolity and I don’t care just let the wind at the beach whip through my hair summertime attitude that’s been left in my lap along with the bag of store-bought popsicles in the freezer that nobody finished eating. Bye bye popsicles, hello freezer bags of autumn’s harvest!

Back to school for her means time for organizing for me,

like…

Making my office functional and trés hip with these 23 brilliant ideas and projects for your home office. I’m really digging the double butted office table. Wait, did I just say butt? I probably meant butter. Anywhooooo…

and…

This gorgeous set of desk accessories, totally updated for all of my electronic devices, natch!

If back to school is stressing you out, read this.

and then…

Hop off the guilt train and laugh your butt off (again with the butt?) if you relate to this back to school comparison! I am 100% a kid of the 70’s and guilty as charged as a Gen Z mom today.

Brass Tag Deer Valley Resort

Two nights ago I got to sample the new menu at Deer Valley Resort’s latest restaurant, The Brass Tag. The theme is an homage to Park City’s mining history and the miners who used to check in and out of work using a brass tag and then if a tag was still on the board at the end of a shift, everyone knew to launch a search. The food was delicious as always, and surprisingly reasonable in the $$ dept. Check out the menu here.

For the past year I’ve been lucky enough to do all of the food photography for Deer Valley and will be contributing to their blog during the upcoming ski season. I can’t wait for snow so I can careen down those carefully groomed slopes while Instagramming my way around the resort.

But first, before pool time and hitting the grill this weekend, I’m heading up to Solitude Resort for the final Wasatch Mountain Table dinner with pairings by local brewers Epic Brewing. I think there might still be tickets available, so if you’re a Utah local, come join me.

How cool is this. Make a year’s worth of instagrams in a cute little memory box. This would be perfect for Smudge to remember all of her summer fun. Or kids could use them as trading cards. Or you could print out all of your recipe photos…Hey, I’m getting an idea here…

The shirt dress. I love them for comfort while kinda looking dressed up even thought you kinda aren’t.

and…

I’m still looking for the perfect boot. What do you think about these? I’m liking the “exposure” but I’m afraid my ankles might freeze.

Are you staring at the poster of Brad that hangs over your bed (or on your ceiling? Ouch, that might be too much) and wondering how he could have EVER possibly chosen HER over you? He was pretty dang cute in Thelma and Louise, but A River Runs Through It is what really got my obsession going. Congrats Angelina on the wedding bells, you win. Good luck with that. I’m moving on and batter up: Bradley Cooper. Tasty.

My cute friend Rebek’s husband, Cory, just released his newest album. Or is it a CD? Or digital tracks? Regardless, you have to take a listen because this is a great soundtrack to cook by. Get it here.

10 random thoughts from the Emmy’s and you can bet one of them is about Sophia Vergara.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but The Skimm is the only way I absorb the news and current events these days. Quick, succinct and delivered straight to my inbox so I can talk about things like I really know what’s going on and not look like a total moron. Sign up here.

Grind black peppercorns in the coffee grinder

I’m not a fan of ground pepper straight from the container, and I have plenty of pepper grinders to make my own fresh ground heat. But I’ve always admired how the Barefoot Contessa has freshly ground pepper at her fingertips. So I’m taking a page from her playbook and my new method is to grind whole peppercorns in the coffee grinder. The smell is amazing and it’s so much easier to dip / scoop / and pinch to my heart’s peppery content.

And now if you’re into the business of blogging…

Okay, so part of my bit about getting organized isn’t just personal, but for professional reasons as well. Here’s a few things I’m implementing to get me where I want to be.

I think I’ve talked about it before, but I’m going to be doing the paid program of this app to get and keep me more on track, with more ease. But if you just want to get your feet wet, give the free version a try. 

Facebook just changed it’s sharing algorithms again, dictating how many people will or won’t see your post depending on the way you ‘share’ it. In my eyes, I’m pleased with how my Facebook sharing has been doing, so I think I’ll test the new way with the same way I’ve been sharing and see what’s reaching more people. Any tips or thoughts you have would be great to hear in the comments below.

SEO for bloggers, the quick and dirty.

Whether it’s creating to-do lists or outlining blog ideas or lists of recipes, I’m always dictating notes on my iPhone. I usually use the Notes feature, but am going to download and give this more sophisticated app for future note-taking. Bonus #1: It’s Free. Bonus #2: You can record podcasts too, something I’m thinking of adding to the blog. Thoughts?

And now, a few recipes that continues our back to school theme, because it’s all about the snacks.

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Pistachio Bakewell Pop Tarts

The perfectly portable after school treat. Okay, yes, go ahead and eat them before school too. Recipe here

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Marshmallow Snack Mix

This is a super cute idea—and what cute bags! Enlist the help of the kids who will devour the homemade mix since they created it. Recipe here.

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Mixed Berry Granola Muffins

Half homemade, half pre-made, that’s what busy school day breakfasts are made of. Make and freeze then pop in the micro for a warm breakfast on the go. Smart! Recipe here.

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Homemade Animal Crackers

Every, single, time we went to the store as a kid, this was the treat in the little circus box that my mom would let us get. It was either this or the Cheese ‘n Crackers snack pack with the fake cheese and little red spreader. I’m voting for homemade animal crackers from here on out.  Recipe here

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Chopped Ham & Cheese Rolls with Creamy Mustard Sauce

Coordinating kids, their schedules and all those blasted activities is hard. These sandwiches are easy. Weeknight dinner in a snap. Nice! Recipe here.

Also, I have a giveaway going on. If you’d like to enter, do so here.

Have a great 4-day weekend everyone, and cook something good!

As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. This post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own.  

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