KUWTC

I apologize for my lack of blogging this month.  February has been a crazy month both at home and at work.  At home, I’m still trying to get used to hubs off days and it’s leaving me a little frazzled and work…well it’s been very busy but it makes the days go by very fast!

So what have I been up to this month?  

Traveled to the wonderful state of AZ for 5 days to attend a work conference.  While I was there, I got to climb up Cholla trail on Camelback Mountain.  The view was amazing and had I not had a husband and child waiting for me back home, I probably would’ve moved there.  GORGEOUS and so much to do, recreationally!

hikeupcholla

Completed my first ever juice cleanse.  After eating out and consuming some yummy beverages, the week in Arizona left me feeling less than healthy.  As soon as I got home, I got familiar with our juicer and completed this juice cleanse.  The cleanse is originally 3 days, but I only did one.  I had a special valentine’s day dinner to attend the next day.  It was nice to get some vegetables into my life and get back on track with healthy eating.  I felt really good just after one day.  Maybe I’ll complete the three days in March, for a spring clean your diet challenge…we’ll see.

Signed up for Birchbox.  A full review to come this week.  This is my first monthly box subscription, and so far I’m really happy with it.  I love getting fun stuff in the mail :-)

Attended a surprise baby shower for one of my best friends.  She lives in DC and is pregnant with her second baby, but first girl.  Her sisters thought it would be a great idea to fly her out here for a surprise shower since some of her friends couldn’t attend the first one.  I love surprising people.  She was speechless.

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I’ll be back later this week (hopefully!) with more details on Birchbox and a review!

Christmas with the Campbells

IMG_2398Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  I hope you celebrated the holidays surrounded by the people you love and care about most.  I’ve had the past five days off of work and I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone by.  I wish that all companies could shut down between Christmas and New Years.  That would be nice :-)

Our Christmas started on Sunday with a trip down to Chicago to celebrate with my in-laws.  We were expecting it to just be us, larry’s two sisters and their significant others but when we walked in, we were greeted by 20 other family members.  It was a nice surprise to see all of his cousins, aunts and uncles, since we don’t get to see them too often.

On Tuesday, I started my morning off with a workout at Barre Bee Fit, headed to a doctor’s appointment, did some last minute grocery shopping, came home and got ready for church and Christmas eve at my mom’s house.  Madelyn hung out at daycare until about 1pm.  It just made it easier with the doctor’s appointment and shopping.  I plan on taking off of work New Years’ Eve and spending the day doing something fun with her.  We met my uncle and aunt at my mom’s house, had some drinks and appetizers and headed to church.

After church, we came home, ate dinner and opened up presents.  My mom made a prime rib roast, asparagus, mashed potatoes along side a glass of wine.  Everything was amazing.  Madelyn lucked out in the present department this year, even though she was more interested in playing with her old toys instead of opening her new ones.

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She also was a fan of hiding on us and playing peek-a-boo…

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Santa was good to me as well.  I got this bag from lululemon along with some running socks and some other odds and ends :-)

We celebrated Christmas Day by opening gifts with Madelyn.  While we were trying to get her to open her duplo blocks, she was more interested in the pen that was on the table :-) We still had fun with her this year, but I’m looking forward to when she gets to be a little bit older and gets really excited for Christmas.  While I cooked up brunch for my family, Larry got to work assembling toys and putting batteries in where they needed to go.

I made an egg bake with mushrooms, onions, spinach, garlic, bacon, goat gouda and goat cheddar.  I seasoned it with Thyme, Rosemary, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and added in 1 cup of soy milk and 3 tbsp on flour.  It turned out really good.  So good in fact that I forgot to snap any food pictures today because I was more concerned about eating :-) I served that along side some polish sausage, fruit, Kringles and cinnamon roll french toast bake—AMAZING!  This french toast bake was super easy and was incredibly delicious.  This definitely goes into a Sunday brunch rotation :-)

Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to focus on getting back on track with healthy eating and setting goals for 2014!  Last year, I posted my 2013 goals.  While I accomplished most of them, there are still a few that are a work in progress :-)

I’ll be back this week to talk about 2013 highlights, goals and other fun stuff!

I hope Santa was good to you all as well ;-) 

 

Scrub A Dub Dub

I’m a sucker for beauty products.  My favorite place to go for my birthday? Sephora :-) One-it’s nice to stock up on products for the fall/upcoming winter season and two-you always get a free gift.
When Larry and I went to the mall on Sunday, I wanted to make a pit stop at Lush.  I read somewhere about an awesome face scrub that they had and since running out of my Mary Kay Microderm, I was in search of a really good face scrub.  I loved the scrub by Mary Kay, but I don’t know anyone who sells it and I wanted the convienience of being able to stop at a store and pick something up.
I became a big fan of Lush bath products when I lived in Chicago, but fell away from it when I moved back to Milwaukee-until I saw the stand alone store in Mayfair Mall a few months ago!  I love this store because all of their products are handmade, it’s affordable, they use fresh organic fruits and vegetables, they are very against animal testing, and if you save up enough of their containers, you can bring them all in for a free facemask-which can only be purchased in stores.
When I went in there, I told the saleswoman that I was looking for a really good face scrub and she recommended their best-selling salt scrub, Ocean Salt.  As she was explaining the ingredients to me, she had me at “Fresh lime extracted in Vodka…”.  Along with that comes fine sea salt, grapefruit, course sea salt, avocado butter, and coconut fat.  The lime and the vodka have an antibacterial effect and is ideal for blocked pores, blackheads and blemishes.  She tried it out on the top of one of my hand and I couldn’t believe the difference between the two hands.  I couldn’t wait to get home and use it.  After going weeks without a face scrub, my face felt amazing!  It was like new skin :-) I couldn’t believe how soft and bright my face was.
IMG_2242I decided to go with the 8.8 oz container for $35 (They’re also really good at giving you samples of their products if you want to try it out before you buy).  Compared to Mary Kay Microderm, which sells for $31 for a 2.5 oz container, I think I’ve found myself a new face scrub.
IMG_2246Sidenote: Make sure to mix well with a stir stick before your first use!
What’s your favorite beauty product?  I love a good face scrub followed by a facial mask :-)

Weekend Catch Up 10/28

Hi friends!  I hope everyone had a great weekend, I know we sure did!  We were super busy with lots of family stuff in Chicago on Saturday.  Back in August, at Madelyn’s birthday party, my SIL asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.  I gladly accepted the offer and on Saturday we set out to look for some dresses.  After trying on a few dresses, we found one that looked great on all of us.

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This one was my favorite of all the dresses we tried on.  It’s the perfect material for a June wedding, it looked great on everyone, and it was very comfortable.  I can’t wait to see them in the actual color that the bride to be picked out!

We also celebrated Grandma Rita’s 90th birthday in Chicago.  I’m amazed at Larry’s Grandma: not only does she still live by herself, but the woman drives and loves going to the casino :-)  She’s quite the little ball of fire!

On Sunday, we took the babes and walked around the mall for a little bit.  I had some birthday money I wanted to spend and I also wanted to check out Williams-Sonoma to get a head start on my Thanksgiving Day prep:

turkeybrind

I used this last year when I made my first Thanksgiving turkey and it went over very well.  So, I’ll be using this again this year and in the future, until I get brave enough to venture out and try something new ;-)

After the mall, I came home and got ready for a baby shower for a girl at work.  I was going to bring my little miss, but she was passed out on the ride home from the mall and didn’t even blink an eye when I took her out of her carseat and into her crib.

Speaking of Madelyn…this past week I bought her her first pair of boots!  She didn’t know what to make of them at first and had a hard time figuring out how to walk in them.  By the time I picked her up on Friday, she was walking all over in those things.

boots

I die over the cuteness :-)

Today, I finally made it out to my garden to plant some garlic.  I hope I didn’t wait too long.  The weather is supposed to be decent this week-nothing below freezing.  Instead of planting 100 heads of garlic, like the previous owners did, I opted for 40 heads.  I think that should be sufficient.

garlic

I’m really excited about gardening in 2014.  I’ll definitely have more time to plan out what I want to plant back there.  We are also in the process of transitioning half of our garden space back into the backyard.  After assessing how much of it we used this past summer, we decided that 6 raised garden beds is just too much for us.  If it was our only hobby, then maybe.  And we’d like Madelyn to have a bigger yard area to play in than what we have now.  Removing 3 of the beds would open up a ton of space and give us back a good chunk of our yard.

P.S. Does anyone have tips for growing beets?  I planted a TON of those tiny seeds in July and I only got TWO beets!  I don’t know if I planted them too late in the season or what, but it was very frustrating given how much time I spent doing it.  The two beets that I did harvest ended up in a juice this past weekend.  Apple, beet and ginger.  YUM!

Marathon Virgin No Longer

There’s something to be said about your first time.  You’re nervous, excited and scared.  You don’t know what to expect.  What will it feel like?  What if I don’t finish?  How do I keep from going too fast too soon?  Did I prepare enough?  The marathon distance can be very intimidating for a first-timer, but the high you experience when you reach the finish line is unlike any other.  And just like with anything else, it gets better with time and practice ;-) (Or so I hear…)
finisherLooking back at my months of training, I can honestly say that I did not give my training 100%.  There were times when I’d adjust the mileage and skip out on the occasional buildup run-once when I was on our anniversary trip to Michigan and also the weekend of Madelyn’s first birthday.  If I could do it over again, there are some things I’d do differently-both in preparation and on race day.
  1. Follow the marathon plan you’ve chosen.  Bart & Hal know a thing or two about marathon training.  It’s okay to move your long run around (doing it on Sunday instead of Saturday), but if you want to be successful, don’t skimp out on mileage.
  2. Get serious about nutrition.  During marathon training, I was not a carb queen much to my surprise.  I did eat relatively healthy but my breakfast before most of my workouts consisted of coffee, water and a banana.  Post workout would be a protein shake.  No good for those longer runs.  The week before the marathon, I loaded up on the good carbs as best as I could.  Next time I’ll plan out my pre & post run meals/protein & carb ratios out a little better.
  3. Have a hydration plan in place and use it on those long practice runs. Toward the end, I switched over to Endurolyte tablets by Hammer.  I liked them because they were just little electrolyte capsules I could just chug with water or Gatorade and I didn’t have to worry about carrying chews or trying to suck down a gel packet.  I used them a few times on my practice runs and my system worked well.  However, you tend to forget about replenishing your electrolytes when you’re running the streets of Chicago, high on life.  There were a few times when I’d pass by a water stop, chug my water and continue on my way without even giving my electrolytes a second thought.  Do whatever you can to try and remember to get the proper nutrition in during the race.
  4. Don’t forget your sunglasses/visor/hat.  The whole time I trained, I wore either my sunglasses or visor and low and behold, on race day I left both of them in hubs’ car.  Don’t do that.  Squinting is no fun, it causes headaches and wrinkles.  The last thing you want to do is weave in and out of the course to get to the shadier spots.  Which brings me to my next point.
  5. STUDY your race course and hug the corners as best you can.  A few weeks prior to race day, Larry posted this article stating that if runners don’t hug the corners of the courses 36 turns, they could possibly add up to a half mile to their race.26.8miles
  6. Set multiple goals for yourself.  You never know what can happen on race day and if you only set one goal (i.e. a finish time) and you don’t achieve it, it will take away from the awesomeness that was just accomplished.  Look back at your training.  You had good days and not so great days.  The same thing can happen when it comes to marathon time.  Not to mention other things you can’t control.  Like the weather.  Or the sun.  Goal #1 for me was just to finish.  Goal #2 was to finish in under 5 hours.  Goal #2 didn’t happen, but I did achieve my main goal and now, I can take everything I learned and put it into practice when it comes time for marathon numero 2.
  7. Write your name somewhere visible on yourself.  I wish I would’ve done this!! I saw lots of people with iron ons, bright tape & black sharpie (if you don’t want to ruin a shirt), and people who wrote their names on their arm with sharpies.  Strangers will call out your name and cheer you on during the race and it’s really motivating.
  8. ENJOY every single moment!  The marathon was honestly the fastest 5 hours of my life.  There will be times on the course when you’re on top of the world one mile and the next mile, you’re hating life, questioning your sanity and wondering why you thought this was a good idea.  Then you’ll hear Ray Charles singing America the Beautiful as you approach the finish and realize that those few miles of agony were totally and utterly worth it.

Gratitude

saluteinc

The same day that I signed my life away up for the 2013 Chicago Marathon, I also committed to fundraising with Team Salute.  Salute Inc is an organization that helps out active duty military members, veterans and their families.

As most of you know I am a military mama by day and a blogger by night.

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I joined the military when I was 18, left for basic training one month after high school graduation and I had no idea where it would take me in life or who I would meet along the way.  Each experience and person has shaped me in some way and in the past 10 years of serving in the Air National Guard, I have earned my Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from UW-Milwaukee, I have been paid to travel to some very awesome places and the people I have met: not enough good words can be said about the people.  The Guard is truly like a little family-and in my case, I spend more time during the week with my co-workers than I do my actual family.

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When I chose to fundraise for Team Salute, I knew people at work would be very receptive I just wasn’t sure how receptive they would be.  This was the first time I’ve ever fundraised this amount and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The amount of support I received from co-workers, family and friends has been overwhelming.  When I got an e-mail notification of my first big donation from a fellow co-worker, my heart filled with gratitude and I got tears in my eyes.

Watching the donations come in the past few weeks has just been amazing.  On Saturday, I surpassed my fundraising goal of $800 and I still have until Sunday, October 13th to raise money.  This post isn’t a plug to get more money (although if you want to donate click here-it goes to a great cause!), I just simply wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me in one way or another.  Whether it was through a donation, words of encouragement, tidbits of advice or just simply listening to me go on about my marathon training-your support has been incredible and I am so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.

Stay tuned: Later this week (FRIDAY!) I will be hosting a Giveaway on the blog! Check back here for the details Friday morning.

Weekend Tidbits

Homeownership kept us pretty busy this weekend.  It was the first weekend we’ve been able to just futz around the house and get outside in the yard.  We spent a lot of time at Home Depot and World Market.

When we bought our house, we inherited a TON of garden space.

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I wasn’t joking.  When I first saw the space I was overwhelmed and immediately wanted to convert it back to a yard.  The only thing I’ve ever grown is a baby!  Then, during our second walk through I thought, “Well maybe we’ll take out the first three and keep the three beds behind the garage.”  After the previous owners accepted our offer, I met with the Mrs. and she informed me that the 100 heads of garlic were growing in one of the beds that I wanted to take out.

I finally got back there this week and saw the garlic starting to sprout.  I got really excited and started to plan out what else I’m going to plant back there.  I planted some carrots in the same bed as the garlic.  I’m not sure of how they’re going to come out: those seeds are tiny! And I thought of a better way to plant them after I kind of just spread them around.  The rest of the planting and gardening will resume after I get back home in the beginning of June.

Another project I wanted to get done before I left at the end of this month was the accent wall in our bedroom.

bedroom wall before

bedroom wall before

  I used a wall stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils to transform our wall into this:

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It was a really tedious job but I’m really happy with how it turned out.  The color is Special Gray from Sherwin Williams.  All the walls were painted with a matte paint and the accent wall was painted with a high gloss paint.  I used the matte paint to go over the high gloss paint.  I’m really glad I stuck with the same color.  Unless you’re a stenciling expert, if you’re going to do this, I would recommend sticking with similar colors.  There were a few little mistakes but it’s really hard to see them, which I’m very thankful for.

The very BEST part of my weekend came today when I was reunited with my sister.  She’s been deployed for two months and we’re so happy to have her home.  Madelyn has missed her auntie!

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When Melissa and I found out the date and time of when she was scheduled to come home we decided to not tell my mom, but rather surprise her at work.  Thankfully, everything fell into place and we were able to pull of an awesome surprise homecoming!

Welcome home to my sister and best friend!  We have some wine dates to catch up on :-)

Rolly Polly

Happy 4 months of life to my blue-eyed beauty.  The girl LOVES to smile at her mama, but as soon as the camera is in front of her face, she does this:4 mo

Time seems to fly even faster when you have a child.  This past weekend, I was putting away all of her clothes that she’s outgrown and I couldn’t believe how small she started out.  When I look at her now, it’s hard to remember her as a 7 pounder.  We took her to her 4 month check up and all is well.  She’s in the 80th percentile for weight and 70th for height.

Sleep.  Since baby girl’s been 3 months she’s been averaging about 10 hours of sleep a night.  This is great, except the new bed time has moved from 9:30-10pm to 8 pm.  What does this mean for mama?  Getting up at about 6:30 am on my days off.  It’s hard to be mad about it when you’re waking up to the happiest baby ever.

Eat.   Two weeks ago, I gave her formula for the first time because I didn’t have enough breast milk stored up.  We gave her a milk-based formula and the daycare lady told me that she had been unusually gassy.  For the most part, I try to stay away from dairy because it’s pretty hard on my stomach, so she hasn’t gotten a lot of exposure to it.  I told the nurse about the gas and she said it could be the dairy in the formula.  I try to breastfeed and pump as much as I can on the weekends to help increase my supply for the week.  Even though she’s intrigued by the act of sitting down and eating dinner, our doctor told us to hold off giving her solids until she’s at least 6 months.  The longer I keep her on just milk, the better.  She said that if she’s sleeping fine and seems satisfied after eating, there’s no need to rush it.  I was happy to hear this.  On one hand, I’m really looking forward to that stage and watching her have fun with food, but on the other hand it’s just a reminder on how quickly she’s growing up.

Play.  Madelyn loves rolling over from her front to her back.  I’m still waiting for the feet in the mouth moment.  She knows that they’re there, but she hasn’t made the connection.  She’s a really good supported sitter and can hold herself up pretty well before she falls over. She prefers to stand and can pull herself up like a champ.  Madelyn is a little mover and a shaker.  When she is put on her stomach, she tries so hard to crawl and clearly gets frustrated when she doesn’t go anywhere.  I have a feeling that when she does start crawling we’re going to get a run for our money.

What she loves. She still can’t get enough of those fingers.  Her Winnie the Pooh activity bouncer-we put her in it for the first time yesterday and even though she’s still not tall enough (we prop her feet with a pillow), she has a blast in that thing.  She even knows how to turn herself around in it.

Another big love?  The Christmas tree lights!  Here’s a video of her babbling away when I laid her under the tree for a photo sesh :-) This is pretty much how she is every single day. My heart melts.

Happy 4 months to my baby girl! I love you more than you’ll ever know.

 

In the past Few Weeks…

One thing I’ve learned since going back to work full-time?  Weekly blogging with a newborn is pretty impossible for me.  My day starts out at 4am: I pump, get ready for work, get little miss up and ready for daycare, feed her, make myself some coffee and we’re out the door at 5:50ish a.m.  I drop her off at daycare around 6 and am at work by 6:30 am.  I work 10 hour days and am lucky enough to have an hour a day to workout-so really it ends up being about a 9 hour day.  I leave work between 4:30-4:45pm to pick up Madelyn from daycare and I get home around 5pm.  When I get home, I get settled in, make dinner, spend time with my husband & baby and start our bedtime routine around 8:30-9.  I’m usually in bed around 9:45-10.  Sleep & repeat.  It’s a very long day but it’s worth the 3 day weekend I get to enjoy :-)

Since my last post we’ve had some pretty eventful things happening here:

1. Madelyn came down with a cold and got so congested that we ended up at an Urgent Care.  The little girl had such a hard time breathing it scared the bejeezus out of Larry and me.

2. Whatever germs Madelyn picked up from daycare, she decided to share with the rest of us and we all took turns being sick the past few weeks.

3. I celebrated 28 years of life.  After a certain age, birthdays stop being exciting.  I was at the tail end of a really bad cold this year and we had drill the following day, so I spent my birthday with my family eating pizza, drinking wine & snacking on birthday cake. It was perfect.

4.  I ventured down to Chicago with my husband and mom and we ran The Hot Chocolate 5k.  It was my first run postpartum and it felt really good.  I ran with my mom whose pace is  just a tad slower than mine-but I wasn’t trying to set any PR with this little race.  My only goal was to have fun-which I did!

5.  I’ve had a not so great few weeks of tracking my weekly weight watchers points.  The good news is I haven’t gained any weight. Bad news? I haven’t lost weight either.  Another blogger pointed out to me that MyFitnessPal DOES take into account breastfeeding so I may be switching back to that because A-it’s free and B-I had success with it before I got pregnant.

6. I found an “in studio” barre class to take in the Milwaukee area.  I liked it, but I want to try another class during the week before I give a full review.

7. Hubs and I spent the night in Chicago this weekend for some much needed husband/wife time.  My mom kept Madelyn for us while we wined and dined in the Windy city.  It was hard leaving her behind but I had peace of mind knowing she was at home and in good hands.  We found a good price on hotwire.com and stayed in a really nice hotel located right off of Michigan Ave.

Larry took me on a little shopping spree and out to dinner at RPM Italian.  I’m a HUGE fan of Giuliana & Bill so I was super excited to try out their new restaurant.  Like every other Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, it did not disappoint.  The food was awesome, the service was spectacular, and the atmosphere was very Modern without being too pretentious.  Their entrees were made to share which I like when you have a small group because then you get to try a variety of foods.  It was a fun getting all dressed up to go out.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done that and Chicago is the perfect city for it.

I’m off to browse through the Thanksgiving issue of the Food Network magazine.  I’m hosting for the first time this year and I’m pretty excited/nervous! Wish me luck!

Pumpkin pie is a must-have at our Thanksgiving dinner.  Larry loves it!  I love mixing cranberry sauce and stuffing together the day after.

What’s your favorite/must have Thanksgiving entree?     

Fun Photo Friday-a collage of pics

Happy Friday! Is it me or did having a holiday in the middle of the week (and then having to return to work) make the week seem longer? I swear it felt like the beginning of the week yesterday. So nice to see you weekend :-) Anyone have any fun plans? Tonight, I’m doing dinner with my mom & sis. Tomorrow, hubs and I are going to Summerfest-the world’s largest music festival held at the lakefront in Milwaukee. It’s been a few years since we’ve gone, so I’m looking forward to it.

It’s also been a few weeks since I’ve done a fun photo Friday post. Instead of just focusing on one picture, I decided to put a few together into a fun little collage.20120706-124351.jpg

The first picture at the top left corner is of my friend and me. She’s expecting a baby girl in the middle of September, so we are only a few weeks apart. It’s been fun having someone so close to you going through the same things as you. It’s also been helpful to call her up and say, “This is happening to me. You too? Ok good it must be normal!” apparently Motherhood Maternity must only have one cute bathing suit because she showed up at my house on wednesday with the same exact swim suit as me. This was not planned and she even bought hers online while I got mine in the store. Great minds DO think alike :-)

The second picture is of some pre-anniversary dinner snackage. LC and I spent some time at the pool, came back and had some snacks while he filled us up two delicious steaks and asparagus. The only thing I was responsible for was the baked sweet potato and snacks. We got the spreadable cheese from door county. It’s cheddar with port wine and cherry…very good! The strawberries were left behind from my mom who stayed at our place to watch Oliver.

The beautiful sunset picture was taken on our last night in Door County. We ate a restaurant by the water and this was our view. It was breathtaking. Hubs said he could retire up there…definitely a change of pace from Chicago, which is where he was planning a few months ago ;-)

The big salad at the bottom was taken at today’s lunch. Some of the girls and I went out to lunch today at Sven’s Cafe in Bayview. This was my first time here and I loved it! Any lunch place that offers gluten free bread options is a friend of mine. My salad had goat cheese, walnuts, tomatoes, grilled chicken, craisins, and grapes. Perfect summertime lunch.

So far, this year’s summer has been pretty great. We’ve been pretty busy but it’s all been so fun. It’s flying by though which makes me realize that baby will be here before we know it…the perfect ending to our summer :-)

Enjoy your weekend!!