Category Archives: Summer

The Perfect Hostess Gift for a Summer BBQ

Hostess-Gift
I can’t believe 4th of July is already tomorrow! As a kid, I remember thinking that once 4th of July came and went…it was almost time to think about heading back to school. Oh how I miss those summer days before the “real world.”
But enough with the nostalgia…let’s talk about my love for summer as an adult. To me, there’s nothing more fun than heading out to a laid-back BBQ for good food, drinks, and company. Sitting outside, enjoying a warm summer night…it just doesn’t get better than that! We have a few barbecues on our summer schedule, and I wanted to come up with a thoughtful gift that I can bring each time for the host or hostess.
That’s where this super simple DIY comes into play.
hostess gift for summer
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…I’m no chef. I’m usually way too intimidated to whip up a new recipe and bring it as a gift for a dinner party or BBQ. This gift may involve a recipe, but lucky for me there is no actual cooking involved.
lemonade pitcher
I simply purchased a clear glass pitcher, some adorable checkered napkins, as well as all of the fix-ins for fresh lemonade.  Bring the entire setup over to your next BBQ and I promise your hostess is going to love it. She can either whip up some fresh lemonade for the party right on the spot, you could offer to make it yourself in the kitchen, or you can just leave it with her knowing that she can whip up a refreshing glass after all of the guests leave.
checkered napkin

Everyone can always use a couple new cute napkins…

hostess gift

…and who doesn’t love a simple glass pitcher?  This gift is so very useful for the hostess with the mostess.

thank you note
lemonade recipe
I tucked a thank you note into the pitcher, and inside you’ll find the recipe for fresh squeezed lemonade.
bag of sugar
Don’t forget the best part about lemonade…the sugary goodness! Simply tie up your pre-measured sugar in a baggie and secure with a colorful ribbon. Then drop it into the pitcher along with the fresh lemons.
summer bbq gift
lemons
And that’s it…you’re all done with this citrusy twist on a classic party gift.  It will take you less than 10 minutes to create this unique and thoughtful hostess gift. So that means less time prepping for the party, and more time partying!
You’ve still got plenty of time to create this bad boy before any holiday BBQs this weekend. Perhaps some red, white, & blue napkins to give it a patriotic twist? Happy (soon to be) 4th of July!casey_sig
What’s your go-to hostess gift?
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Celebrate Summer FREE Printable

CelebrateSummerPrintable
It doesn’t take much to mix up a reason to celebrate around here- and today is no different. In honor of the SUMMER and lots of sunshine to come, we are officially celebrating by sharing this bright & happy FREE printable with you guys today!

Because we can’t reach through the screen and give you a big ol’ HUG for all of the love & support that you show by coming here each and everyday to see what we’re up to… a polka dotted printable seemed like the next best thing. 

We think this pop of cheer can be the perfect addition to a gallery wall, a fun note to stick on a message board, or even a tag to add to your next summer BBQ hostess gift. So regardless of how you use it… we hope you love it and find some time to celebrate all that this gorgeous sunshine has to offer! To download your FREE printable, just click HERE & press PRINT!
Speaking of celebrating sunshine, I am extremely fortunate to have the chance to do A LOT of that lately. As many of you already know, my real job (you know… the one that pays the bills) is being a high school teacher. Thanks to this career choice, I am on summer vacation and soaking up lots of rest, quality time with the hubby (who is also a teacher on summer vacay), quality time with my sisters (both teachers as well) and checking off my DIY/blog to do list a little quicker than usual.
Since I typically don’t talk about my day job here on the Playbook, I thought I would take this chance to give you a crash course on a few random bits of info you may not know about me & my day job.
  1. I work at the same high school where both Casey and I graduated
  2. I pass both Casey’s and my high school locker about once a week
  3. …Still remember the combination (they changed it… I’ve tried)
  4. I work at the same high school as Matt (although our workplace is not his alma mater)
  5. Matt & I met outside of the copy room about 4 years ago. No one at work knew we were dating for at least a year, maybe more. Actually, some colleagues found out we were dating after we were married & some probably still don’t know.
  6. I co-teach with two teachers that I had in high school and I am grateful to work alongside them as a colleague now
  7. I have two Master’s degrees in Education related fields and I never anticipate going back to school … ever again
  8. Casey has come into my class as a guest speaker to talk about her career in broadcast journalism- I couldn’t have been more proud to give this opportunity to my students & allow them to hear her professional words of wisdom.
  9. All of my sisters are also teachers and we all share our summer vacations, winter breaks, spring breaks & school holidays! #luckygirls
  10. I coach varsity girls’ golf every fall
  11. **I am on summer vacation until August and will be CELEBRATING SUNSHINE until then! Although you may not be a teacher & blessed with this generous time off, I still hope you find time to celebrate sunshine this summer too!
Thank you for taking this crazy DIY journey with us each and every day (you have no idea how much it means to us). We wish you all an amazing start of summer and lots of opportunity to celebrate the sunshine all season long. You deserve it!! Xo.
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Wrapping up our Summer Bucket List

Today Bridget is BACK TO SCHOOL! Can you believe it? Where did the summer go?

To celebrate her return to academia, we’re finishing up our Summer Bucket List. You guys know we made it a priority to savor this summer, and take full advantage of these long gorgeous days. We did fairly well on our to-do list…

Summer Bucket List

 Here’s what we’ve been up to over the past month…

Casey:

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Order a new Ice Cream Flavor: This was quite possibly the yummiest activity on our bucket list. See, I’m typically a mint chocolate chip girl (sometimes cookie dough if I’m feeling craaazy!) So it was actually kinda difficult to get out of the mint chip box and order something totally new. Well, I’ve lived to tell the tale that it is great to try something new! I ordered this salted caramel from a local restaurant and whoa, baby! Dy-na-mite!

Turtle and Red Velvet Cupcakes

Visit a Cupcake Shop: Ummm..is it just me or am I going to gain 5 million pounds because of this summer bucket list? Ice cream AND cupcakes? Geesh! But seriously holy yum. My mom and I visited the bakery in my hometown for this tasty two-some. I dove right into the turtle and caramel one, while the Janimal chose red velvet.

Washing a car with a hose

Wash Your Car: I can’t even lie, this was the first time in a looong time that I actually washed my car. It’s just so darn hard when you live in the city and park in a garage. Vacuuming the inside and hosing the outside are off limits for this city girl. So I took advantage of some time at my mom’s house to give my car some TLC. Let’s just say I’m no longer ashamed to have people in my car. It’s smelling fresh and clean.

Overboard Movie

Watch an Old Movie: Overboard is quite possibly one of my favorite movies, so it wasn’t hard to cross this item off of my bucket list.  The movie is laugh out loud funny and I’m obsessed with Goldie Hawn. If you haven’t seen this classic, go rent it right now. You will love it.

Bridget:

On a boat

Take a Boat Ride: Check! Matt and I took a little journey up to Twin Lakes Wisconsin to visit one of my favorite people in the world and a lady who will be standing by my side on my wedding day. It was one of the highlights of my summer… I mean who doesn’t love a day on the water with some fabulous people?

Crab Bake

Try a new food: a crab bake! Who knew that after ya grill all this grub you can throw it on a newspaper and dig in? Intimidating, yes. Questionable, yes. Delicious, yes.yes.yes! A little piece of the east coast made its way to Chicago and you all better believe that this east coast wanna-be was all over it.  

Sparkly Chandelier

Take an artsy photo: Love, love, love any and all things rustic mixed with glam. This chandy combo is no different. I love the dark wood paired with the sparkling fixture. It’s the perfect compromise of his and hers, and left me wondering how I could incorporate this look into our home. Hmmm….

Go a day without my phone: I unplugged for a full 24 hours and lived to tell about it. It was amazing but I don’t have any eye candy to share with you. I loved being completely unplugged… you should try it sometime. Better yet, you should recruit your friends, family and everyone around you to “unplug for love”. I heard a fellow blogger mention this movement and I love it! Who doesn’t need a little less distraction to focus on what’s really important in life… those wonderful people you surround yourself with. So even though summer is over, I still dare you to check this one of the list. It was by far one of my favorites!!

So we didn’t hit everything on our list. But, that wasn’t really the point of the bucket list. Instead the list forced us to try something new and break out of our routine. I think we both definitely accomplished that.

Now it’s time to look ahead to one of our favorite seasons. Fall! Bring on the comfy sweaters, leather boots, and trendy scarves…we’re ready for you!

Read more about our Bucket List Adventures in these posts…
Organize Something (daily outfit prep)
Make mojitos
Send someone a card just because
Visit a park
Host a BBQ
Buy something at a garage sale
Read a book that inspires you
Enjoy a bike ride
Bake a new treat
Rock a pair of sassy shades
Eat breakfast outside
Go on a date
Buy fresh flowers for yourself
Watch fireworks
Use an umbrella

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Summer Bucket List – July Update

July is more than halfway over…say what?! Man oh man, the summer is really flying.
We are doing our best to enjoy every last minute of these gorgeous summer days, and our bucket list is keeping us both on track.  
Because before we know it..that school bell will ring and it will be back to reality for B. 
Crossing off summer bucket list
Here’s what Casey has been up to lately…
Sassy Shades
Rock a pair of sassy shades: Finn & I are definitely not the kind of people to wear super expensive shades. I’m always throwing them in my purse (hello scratched lenses!) and he is known to lose things (sorry buddy!) Therefore, you’re more likely to see us rockin’ $5 sunglasses..than $50 ones! 
On a recent trip to Chicago, we both found ourselves shades-less, so we ducked into a small shop to pick out some ridiculous sunglasses. I got some pink, heart shades for less than $10 and he went with white ones. They definitely did the job of keeping the sun out of our eyes, but more importantly we felt super sassy! 
Omelette and oatmeal eating breakfast outside
Eat breakfast outside: It’s always a treat when Bridget and I get together for some girl time. A few weekends ago, we spent an entire day hanging out, working on the blog, and prepping for an upcoming blog conference (Hello Haven!) We started off our jampacked day with a long walk from Bridget’s house to downtown Lagrange for some breakfast. Sitting outside eating oatmeal and eggs, coffee in hand, with your best friend…it doesn’t get any better than that!
Go on a date: As stated above, my man and I recently enjoyed a weeklong trip home to Chicago.  Typically we only get to go to Chicago for a weekend, and it is always hard to cram in time with friends, family, and each other. This weeklong trip was the perfect amount of time to cross off everything on our to-do list. We spent 2 nights downtown Chicago and enjoyed nice walks and dinners together. It was pure bliss.  There’s nothing like Chi-town in the summertime. 
And here’s what Bridge has been up to…

Buy fresh flowers for yourself: I bought these hydrangeas (my our favorite… right Case?) @ the local Trader Joe’s. Not only did a snag these fabulous stems… I bought the whole dang plant, roots and all. I cut off each flower to enjoy inside mi casa and planted the roots outside mi casa for future blooms. It’s been about two weeks and it looks like the roots are going to make the lodge smile with lots of future hydrangeas. Keep your fingers crossed people…

Date night: Casey isn’t the only ones enjoying a little sunshine alongside her boy. Thankfully, I snagged my better half to enjoy a summer night doing one of my all time favorite things: riding a tandem bike together. Matt and I rode our first tandem bike a few years back in the amazing Mackinaw Island. I enjoyed the scenery, took a few pics (don’t tell Matt) and enjoyed the romantic experience. Matt on the other hand… he took care of the pedaling, sweating and even a little cursing up front. Not much has changed since then, we I still enjoy riding this bike for 2… without being a backseat driver.

Watch Fireworks: As part of my sister’s wedding week festivities, the family got a big group of guests to camp out and enjoy a local firework show. Surrounded by some of my favorite people, I enjoyed these glamorous lights and chatted all things wedding prep. Can’t wait to fill y’all in on the amazing wedding.. stay tuned, I promised it’s on it’s way.

Use an umbrella: Here’s a sneak peek of our engagement photo shoot. I can’t wait to share allll of the details once I get the pictures back!! Wow, I have so much to fill you in on. I’ll leave you with this: it was about 95 degrees, beyond humid, and it rained… quite the hat trick on our big day. Although these elements were horrid for the hair-do, the weather didn’t damper our day. Matt and I had a blast, rain and all.

How’s your summer bucket list coming along? If you haven’t gotten in on the fun just yet… it’s not too late. You can download and print your own Summer Bucket List right here.

Read more about our Bucket List Adventures in these posts…
Make mojitos
Send someone a card just because
Visit a park
Host a BBQ
Buy something at a garage sale
Read a book that inspires you
Enjoy a bike ride
Bake a new treat

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Summer Bucket List – June Update

How is everyone enjoying their summer so far?
We hope you’re making the most out of these long, beautiful days and taking some time to make summer 2013 a memorable one!
Here’s a little update on our own attempt to tackle this big ol’ list of activities. We have a ways to go…but we’ve both made a dent. (And it’s not too late to jump in on the fun! Download the FREE printable here)

Visit a Park: Finn & I recently checked out City Garden in downtown St. Louis. Even though it is literally blocks from where we live, we had never actually been there (we’re bad STL residents aren’t we?) We spent some time taking ridiculous pictures (like raising the roof of the arch) and showed onlookers that you’re never too old to play and climb on random sculptures. #kidsatheart

Enjoy a Bike Ride: This summer we’re making a point to bike all around our town! A few weekends ago, we got our bicycles out of storage, pumped up the tires, and had a blast riding around all day. It’s a great way to get some sun, exercise, and explore new areas. On this day we found an awesome outdoor bar (for St. Louis dwellers, it’s called The Shack) and I sucked down delish blueberry mojitos. 

Host a BBQ: Okay, okay.. you caught me. Technically, I didn’t actually host a “BBQ”, but in all fairness, for someone who doesn’t own a grill… this is as close to hosting a BBQ as I’m going to get. I hosted my very own brunch, which is my kind of BBQ anyway! To kick-off some summer fun, I rallied up some of my favorite ladies and we chatted about all things summer over mimosas, fresh fruit, and lots of sweets. It was a huge success and much better than burnt burgers and messy hot dogs!

Buy something at a garage sale: I scored this retro-looking, totally blank address book for a quarter at a local garage sale! Ever since we moved into our new digs, I’ve been searching high and low for a trendy address book and just haven’t been able to find the perfect one… until now of course. Thanks to our technology savvy generation, I feel like “the address book” is on its way to extinction. As much as I love the convenience of technology, I’m still a sucker for a hands-on list or place to keep my addresses.      

If you want to stay up-to-date with our summer bucket list progress, follow us on Instagram @diyplaybook.

As you probably know, Google Reader is going away next week! We’ve tried out both Blog Lovin’ & Feedly and have really enjoyed both. You can follow us on blog lovin’ here or feedly here. Thanks for the support guys!
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Summer Lovin’

Oh summer…how we love you so! (and not just because one half of this rookie duo is a school teacher. Okay maybe that has something to do with it…)
Summertime is a special time. The days are oh-so-long, and the warmth and sunshine make us smile a little brighter every day.
We both have crazy times ahead of us (planning two weddings!)..so we want to make the most out of Summer 2013 and enjoy all of the laid-back memories that are bound to occur.  Since we’re big fans of lists here on DIY Playbook, we thought a SUMMER BUCKET LIST was necessary to make the most out of the next few months.
Summer Bucket List
Together we came up with a well-rounded list of activities that we feel we can accomplish before that school bell rings in the fall. 
Some items on the list are summer classics
 -Make s’mores
-Host a BBQ
-Go on a bike ride…
While others have a refreshing twist
-Take an artsy photo
-Rock a sassy pair of shades
-Go an entire day without your phone <–nervous about this one.
Mason jar of markers
All of the tasks on this bucket list remind us to live in the moment and enjoy all of the joys in life…big and small.
Dry erase marker on picture frame
We both printed out the lists, framed them, and put them in prominent locations in our homes. Then all we have to do is mark off each task using a dry erase marker on the glass. 
We have a few visits planned this summer, so we’re hoping we can cross of a few items off the list together during those mini vacays.  We are planning to document our Summer 2013 Bucket List on Instagram (@diyplaybook #bucketlist)..so be sure to follow us and catch up on our progress. (Don’t worry, we’ll update ya on the blog too!)
But here is the best part…we want you guys to join in on the Bucket List action! Just download the FREE PRINTABLE and get going on the fun summer activities. If you complete an activity, be sure to capture it and tag us on Instagram or Twitter @diyplaybook with the hashtag #bucketlist. 
We cannot wait to have an amazing summer with our MVP readers!

Here’s a sneak peek of DIY Playbook’s Summer bucket list…
Summer Bucket List Free Printable
Download the ENTIRE bucket list for FREE here
Good luck conquering the #bucketlist. Take pictures along the way, enjoy every moment, and remember to share your adventures with us by taggin @diyplaybook. Maybe your picture or adventure will make its very own appearance here on the Playbook. hint…. hint….
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