Category Archives: flowers

Hello Spring. 

So how do you survive your first winter back in the Midwest after living in Florida?christmas in florida, holidays, florida,
Don’t blog about it and it’s like it didn’t even happen.

Not sure whether there is a joke or an excuse in there, but I needed a transition so take it for what it is.

Truth is our first winter back has been pretty mild. And only in terms of temperature.

But if you’re gauging it on social engagements and work schedules, it’s been red hot. Most likely from a combination of living closer to friends and family, low housing inventory and increased demand for local athletic training services.

I’ll save you the apologies for my absence in this particular corner of the internet and instead bring you up to speed with photo montages and random things our dog has eaten (and had surgically removed) since we last talked (spoiler alert: it’s my favorite cashmere scarf).

superbowl cookies, football cookies, superbowl, dessert, sugar cookies, royal icing

Super Bowl Sunday

valentine's day dessert, yogurt covered strawberries, ombre strawberries, dessert,

Galentine’s Day Brunch

St. Louis Blues Hockey, Blues,

First St. Louis Blues Game

spring, tulips, whole foods, st. louis, flowers

Visiting Flowers at Whole Foods

gender neutral tassel garland, gender reveal, tissue banner, tassel garland

Saeger Gender Reveal Tassel Garland

valentine's day cookies, m&m cookies, baking, cookies, holiday

A Valentine’s M&M cookie recipe not worth sharing

Finn, greater swiss mountain dog, finnegan, swissy, gsmd

Watching my favorite show on T.V.

Finn, greater swiss mountain dog, finnegan, swissy, gsmd

Showing off my new belly scar

And since I’ve had this draft for several weeks now, it seems like as good a time as any to do a St. Patrick’s Day recap of recipes I used to make when I was fun.

April Showers

It’s wedding season! Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday we were all getting together for bridal showers and bachelorette parties every other weekend?

Truth is it’s been a while since we all got together to celebrate a wedding. That’s why Matt and I decided to be the last. You know, to build the suspense and excitement.

And to give our friends a chance to go out for a night and leave their kids with grandma and grandpa.

We ventured home last weekend for a weekend full of wedding festivities and Easter celebrations. After a brief pilot strike, new flight schedules and a detour in Chicago, we made it to Springfield around 1 a.m. Saturday morning. This was our third trip home that we arrived after midnight so we’re hopeful that by the time the wedding comes, the travel gods smile down on us instead of pouring their flight delays and traffic jams all over us.

Travel woes behind us, we spent Saturday amidst family and friends and if you ask me, there’s no better way to spend a weekend day. It meant so much to us for both sides of friends and family come into town, something I appreciate so much more living thousands of miles away from them.

My mom and sister handled all of the planning and execution of the shower so while I can’t take credit for any of the details, I did manage to snap a few photos to share with you. I think we both know I’m good for little more than photo posts at this point so here’s a mash-up of the weekend.

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wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cakewedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie, family

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie, family

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie, family

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie, family

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie, family

We had a great Easter celebration and are continuing the party this week with the boys visiting Florida for their spring break. You’ll have to excuse my delay in posting as a certain spunky younger brother is turning 5 tomorrow and I’ve got some decorating to do but I’ll leave you with a few shots from Easter Sunday.

Easter, brothers, boys, photography, easter sunday, family, kidsEaster, brothers, boys, photography, easter sunday, family, kids Easter, brothers, boys, photography, easter sunday, family, kids

Can you tell they’re brothers?

 

 

The angry ants go marching

They say everyone is nicer in the south. And between the ‘bless your hearts’ and the homemade sweet tea, it’s hard to argue with them. But I’ll tell you one thing that’s not nice in the south. Fire ants.

Let me set the scene for you.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. 80 degrees and sunny. Finn and I had just come back from a trip to Lowe’s with a trunk full of mulch and flowers. Well the trunk was full of Finn and the backseat with mulch and flowers but that’s neither here nor there. Did you know you can bring your dog into Lowe’s with you? It’s good socialization for them so long as your dog does not have an affinity for wood products. If that’s the case, might I recommend avoiding the lumber aisles lest you want to spend the next 20 minutes worrying about splinters in your pooches’ nose?

Where were we?

Ah, yes. Bitchy fire ants.

When I was a kid I used to collect bugs. I collected rocks, wooden carved animals and neighborhood cats too but for the sake of this post let’s just stick with the bug catching. I had a net to grab them with and a special bug jar with the wire mesh on the sides and a nifty wood top that you turned to lock them in or let them free.

From lightning bugs to crickets, I loved trapping insects and watching them hop around while I got a closer look. Lightning bugs were my favorite except when they accidentally got stuck in the lid and you couldn’t get the smell off your hands. In the Midwest, ants represented everything from a gentle picnic pest to a topping for celery and peanut butter and a line in many a childhood song. And for the better part of the U.S., the title that we use to describe our parent’s sisters.

I never had a problem with ants and they seemed to like me too, those cute little harmless black ants.

So having this context in mind, imagine my surprise when the sweet little childhood pest I knew went rogue on me as I destroyed its home planted some beautiful flowers in our front yard Sunday evening.

gardening, florida, fire ants, flowers, lowe's

It started innocently enough. I was digging away at the ant hills using an old serving spoon when I realized that digging holes with a serving spoon may not have been the best idea (warning graphic finger blister photo below)

gardening, flowers, blister, florida,

But just as I was noticing the loss of skin on one hand, fire ant number 1 dive bombed the space between fingers on my left hand with his vicious little teeth. Further research would indicate he likely used some sort of stinger as well.

fire ants, florida, gardening,

But he did not act alone. I’m learning that they never do these mean little ants of the south. He tag-teamed with his buddy and nearly simultaneously got me in the same spot on my foot.

Go for the spot between her fingers and toes Archie*. That’ll teach her!

*names of the ants have been changed to protect their identities.

And teach me it did.

It taught me what it might feel like to be bitten by a mosquito, stung by a bee and touched by poison ivy all at once. And in the 48 hours that follows develop arthritic like symptoms in the extremities that were stung.

It taught me the importance of gardening gloves.

It taught me that a desperate 4 a.m. Google search will lead you to a concoction of baking soda and apple cider vinegar that can provide temporary relief.

fire ant remedy, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, fire ant treatment

It taught me how nice my ant friends to the north are. Shout out Midwestern ant colonies!

It taught me how my ring might fit if I’m lucky enough to carry a child in the coming years. Answer: very tightly.

It taught me the importance of having an adequate supply of Benadryl in the house.

It taught me a new way to use Matt’s whiskey rocks.

fire ants, florida, gardening,

And most importantly, it taught me that I’m going to need more than three bags of mulch, 8 flowers and several days worth of Benadryl to finish this war.

gardening, florida, fire ants, flowers, lowe's

 

until next time!

 

30!

I’m thirty. 30 years old!

source

Thirty! I did it. I finally passed the last milestone birthday that all of my friends passed nearly a year before me! Being the youngest of the group, I was used to being last in line for all age-related events. Last to drive at 16, last to do whatever a non-smoker is allowed to do at 18 and the last to legally drink at 21. Now don’t feel too bad for me. Looking back, I can see now that it actually worked out in my favor. I had cool friends to drive me to and from school, to book rental cars when we went on trips and to illustrate which liquor you should not make your best friend on your 21st birthday. Tequila maybe. Whiskey no way. I remember thinking that when they all turned thirty, I would still be 29. And how cool that would be to still be 29 when all your friends were old and thirty. turning 30, birthday, friends Well I realized about a year ago that it’s neither cool nor old. Thirty is not the old age I (and probably every other 24 year old who is reading this) thinks it is. There’s a shift that happens about the age of 26 or 27 where you suddenly realize that you are rapidly approaching the thirty year-old you thought was so old just a few years ago. I am now that thirty year-old that kids just out of college scoff at. Only I don’t feel very different than them. Minus pretty much all of these things. I stayed up until 2 a.m. this weekend. Only it was because my mom and sister’s flight got delayed, not because we wanted to hit up the late-night bar and watch the sun come up. I cannot tell you the last time I willingly stayed up that late. And I’m ok with that. As if last weekend’s surprise party wasn’t enough, my mom and sister came down to visit me in Florida this weekend to celebrate the official birthday. You don’t realize how loved you are until you live really far away and people go out of their way to make you feel special on your birthday. turning 30, birthday, friends   On Saturday, we headed down to St. Armands and Lido Beach. Lido Beach, St Armands, Florida, family, birthday   And on Sunday we spent most of the day at Siesta Key, followed by a sunset dinner along the beach on Anna Marie Island. beach, florida, family, birthday, swiss mountain dog, sunset, anna marie island, siesta key beach, florida, family, birthday, swiss mountain dog, sunset, anna marie island, siesta key   It was so nice to spend some quality time with just my mom and sister. If the next two-thirds of my life look anything like theirs, I can’t wait to get there. Thank you again for all the well-wishes over the weekend. I’m excited for the year ahead.

Farmer’s Market Strategy

One of my favorite things to do with my mom on Saturday mornings was to head downtown to the farmer’s market and shop for produce. I love to social aspect of it, the people watching, the beautifully lined vegetables, the music.

sarasota downtown farmer's market, produce, vegetables, farmers market, spring, tips for making the most of the farmers market

Isn’t it amazing how the things you absolutely dreaded as a child have become some of your favorite activities as an adult? I can picture my sister rolling her eyes right now, making some reference to how much I’m turning into our mom, but I’m ok with that. My mom is a subject matter expert when it comes to farmer’s markets. She knows all the vendors. She knows what’s in season and what’s priced appropriately. Not that the price matters. I’ve never seen someone throw around cash more than she does on your average Saturday morning. But when your cash is supporting local business, it’s worth it. Bottom line is if you need a crash course in farmer’s market strategy, consider letting my mom accompany you to your local farmer’s market. You’ll be a pro in no time.

Unfortunately I didn’t have my mom with me when I visited the downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market on Saturday, but based on her lessons and my experience, here are my five tips to make the most of your local farmer’s market:

Step 1. Survey the lot before you buy. Chances are there are at least 2-3 stands with the produce you are looking for. See what’s out there before you commit to anything. Most farmer’s markets take cash so you don’t want to spend it all at the cookie bar when you really came for peaches and cucumbers. Not that you shouldn’t spend a little at the cookie bar because well, it’s a cookie bar.

sarasota downtown farmer's market, produce, vegetables, farmers market, spring, tips for making the most of the farmers market

Step 2. Consider what’s in season and stick with that. We are very fortunate to be living in a place where fruits and vegetables that might not regularly be in season are. Find out what was recently harvested in your area and plan your meals around those foods. It makes the seasons fun!

sarasota downtown farmer's market, produce, vegetables, farmers market, spring, tips for making the most of the farmers market, peaches

Step 3. Talk to people. Farmer’s markets don’t work the same way grocery stores do. Show up with your headphones on and your head down and you may lose out on a great experience. Not only did I meet two people from Chicago and one from Green Bay Wisconsin on Saturday morning, but I got a free dinner and several local recommendations for restaurants in our new area. I was also asked if I was getting married in Siesta Key that afternoon by an older gentleman who was absolutely convinced I looked like the bride. Don’t get me wrong, I hear it’s a great location for a wedding but any bride who is shopping hydrangeas solo at 10 a.m. the morning of her wedding is straight up crazy.

sarasota downtown farmer's market, produce, vegetables, farmers market, spring, tips for making the most of the farmers market, art, painting, flowers

Step 4. Bring cash. This should probably be step 1 but let my mother be an example for you to load your pockets and purse with small bills before heading to your farmer’s market. It’s a busy place so the key is to make the transaction as quick as possible. No one wants to see your AMEX or $100 bill when all you have is a pint of tomatoes in your hand.

sarasota downtown farmer's market, produce, vegetables, farmers market, spring, tips for making the most of the farmers market

Step 5. Slow down. Farmer’s markets offer a rare chance to take a break from technology and talk to people. For once you not only have the chance to find out where your food came from, but to talk to the person or business owner and learn a little about their story as well. And it doesn’t just stop at food. These markets are a great chance to hear good music and survey the local arts.

sarasota downtown farmer's market, produce, vegetables, farmers market, spring, tips for making the most of the farmers market, peaches

Do me a favor and go check out your local farmer’s market this spring. Most should be opening soon if they aren’t already. Order a cup of fresh-squeezed lemonade and be sure to say hello to my mom when you see her.

 

Vacation Recap: full heart, tired body

My body is tired. My heart is full. I may or may not be reconsidering having children of my own someday. These are just a few of my symptoms after a weekend spent with my family to the (slight) northwest. It was a Murphy/Gleason weekend and it was lovely.

Give me a weekend filled with little more than a long run and some time in the kitchen and I can give you a witty, recipe-filled excerpt sure to make your Monday (ok maybe not yours but mine at least) awesome. When it comes to documenting a big weekend however, I struggle.

How do you explain the amount of love laughter and mosquito bites shared throughout a weekend with family? How can you illustrate the joy that comes with watching young cousins become friends, celebrating two families become one or seeing someone get sprayed in the face with dirty puddle water?

What I lack in words today I make up for in photos. For those of you who were overwhelmed by my Instagramathon this weekend, I’m sorry I’m not sorry. For those of you that weren’t, prepare for an overload of cuteness. Lets call it Gleasapalooza.

Hit it.

Derecho delayed our flights. Well some of us more than others. But that left time for a few things I usually don’t have time for in the middle of the week. Like sleeping in or a mid-morning run or locating the beaver that someone obviously let into my condo the night before.

chicago lakefront swiss mountain dog
Since I was first to arrive I had the privilege of picking up the rental soccer mom mobile car and getting to know Minneapolis traffic during rush hour. Totally different from Chicago traffic but annoying just the same. Especially with that carpool lane just wide open and screaming for someone in a minivan (hey that’s me) with passengers (oh shoot that’s not me) to cruise down it. My family lives near Lake Minnetonka so that evening we just grabbed a bite to eat at a local spot and spent some time catching up and looking at old photos.

while my cousins may look short-statured, that's just poor camera angle on my part. Oopsies!

while my cousins may look short-statured, that’s just poor camera angle on my part. Oopsies!

On Friday we went shopping. There’s no sales tax in Minnesota on clothing so we always seem to make a little time for a trip to the mall.  Shoes were on the agenda for the boys but we ended up with watches, slap bracelets and sour gummy worms. And not necessarily in that order. Then it was off to Nana Pat’s where Owen and Jake wasted no time testing the structural stability of each of their cousin Jon’s toys. 

IMG 2157[1] from Sarah Murphy on Vimeo.

Friday afternoon, my cousin Jennifer’s boys Jack and Ben came over to play. A lovely mix of giggles, sword fights and ‘your not the boss of me’ ensued.

boys

no cues needed for this shot. This comes naturally to them.

That evening we had an ice cream date/photo shoot along the lakefront. Special thanks to Ben & Jerry’s for the props. I cannot get over how tall the boys are getting. I’m getting old.

lake minnetonka minnesota wayzata simply social blog ice cream

Saturday we celebrated Jennifer and Jason’s wedding at local Noerenberg Gardens. My cousin Kate and I were in charge of the chairs so we arrived early to set up and catch a few glimpses of the details and the boys before the ceremony.

noerenberg gardens bouquet poenies

It was a beautiful and simple ceremony. And I just adored the way that they incorporated the kids, having Jennifer’s boys walk her up the aisle, and Jason’s girls walk him.

noerenberg garden wedding

After the ceremony we were invited to Jennifer’s sister’s house for a afternoon reception. The whole day felt comfortable and welcoming. A playground set in place of a dance floor. A sprinkled cake that wouldn’t show fingerprints and a general sense of comfort and love.

sprinkle wedding cake

I believe everything looks better with sprinkles. Sprinkles and peonies.

The real treat came that evening, when the new Mr. and Mrs. went off to celebrate and all of the kids (6 of them including Owen and Jake) headed back to Nana’s house for pizza and a sleepover. Here are the numbers:

  • 2 lawnmower rides with Papa (Uncle Jim)
  • 4 sleeping bags
  • 3 snapping turtles spotted (weekend total)
  • 6 pairs of shoes (few of which were actually worn)
  • Countless repetitions of you’re not the boss of me, Ben hit me, I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I had it first and I can’t find my underwear. 
sleepover stats

sleepover stats

I managed to get a few hot and humid runs in on a nearby trail over the weekend as well. It was then that I spotted snappers #2 and #3 so I felt inclined to stop to take a few scenic photos. Because of the turtles. Not because I just wanted an excuse to stop and rest. Never.

lake minnetonka minnesota

The flight home was short and sweet. I even managed to get a brief nap in thanks to the white noise in the back of the plane. After all, when you just spent 24 hours with 6 yelling children, 1 screaming child is as soothing as a sweet lullaby.

I’d like to think it was careful planning on my part to save this post for today so I could properly wish my parent’s a Happy 35th Anniversary. That or exhaustion, but either one works. 35 years ago my Dad finally put a ring on it and my mother said yes after 6-plus years of dating. Poor Nana had to get that ring ready so many times she even told my mom to just move on. But she didn’t and I thank her for that because well, that’s how I happened and if I hadn’t happened then you wouldn’t be reading this blog. And wouldn’t that be tragic? Back to the marriage.

35th wedding anniversary simply social blog

Mom and Dad. You have shown me that a successful marriage is filled with hard work, love and a whole lot of laughter and for that I thank you. Happy Anniversary.

Have a great week!

>July 4th Fun…

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check out these fun 4th of July ideas from bakerella, martha stewart, country living, twig and thistle, and amy atlas designs