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    Family, Travel

    Florida Family Vacation

    Last week we spent 6 days in my favorite way; no agenda & all play time. We built sand castles to knock down, paddle boarded as the sun rose, chased crabs into their homes, and I had my fair share of mocktails.

    You’d think after living the first 14 years of my life in Florida that I wouldn’t forget fundametal things like how the heat & humidity smack you right in the face when you go outside…especially in JULY….but turns out I forget every. single. time. and every single time I’m left wondering why on earth I brought a hoodie “just in case” (true confessions of a shameless over-packer) I also packed 6 swimsuits and only wore three of them, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Thankfully, the Atlantic is just right and with the long Florida tides we were able to spend all day in the shallow water. Margot, you had a ball and you loved catching up with cousin Jack – you still ask for him to come play at home *break my heart*. You learned about jellyfish, boogie-boards, and watched Mullet jump in the water. You fed catfish some french fries and ate calamari for the first time (which you LOVED).  You slept like a dream from spending all day in the sun and first thing you would say each morning was “I wan pay Dack ou-sigh!” (translation: “I want to play with Jack outside!”) At least once a day you would wander back up to the house, stand under the outdoor shower and wait until we came to turn it on – I’m assuming you wanted to cool down and once you did you would run back down to the beach to play. I love that you are adventurous and unafraid to wander, sometimes we would let you walk  just to see how far you would go – we found out it was uncomfortably far & always had to come get you!

    Lastly, I have decided that I want to be better about making home videos! I have loads of little videos on my phone and computer but never get around do doing anything with them – So here is Hollar family video #1 with hopefully many more to come 🙂

    Song: Anywhere we go // Kaptan

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    DIY, Family, Home

    Margot’s Playset!

    When we first moved into our house we knew that having a playset for Margot was a huge priority. Especially with me being pregnant, I don’t always have energy to get to the park and I don’t foresee that changing when the newborn comes along! I scoured the internet and pinterest for playsets but I kept finding that the only ones I really liked were custom built. We played out the logistics of building our own playset but when it came down to it, it just wasn’t really worth it for us. Julian is pretty good at building things but between weatherproofing all the wood first, planning out a design, cutting all the pieces just right, etc; it didn’t seem easily feasible (and we didn’t want this to be a project going on for months). Next we looked further into the pre-fab options that I liked… and all I can say is; holy cow, I had no idea how much a playset could cost! So, he told me that if I could find a pre-fab playset that I liked that was a reasonable price, we could customize it however I wanted. As it turns out that was a great idea! it was a total win/win for everyone including our pocketbook! I also had a lot of fun planning out changes I wanted to make and seeing them make such a big difference! It ended up looking more like a play house than an actual play set which I really love! . I have had a lot of questions about it so I thought I’d do a quick post with the details and changes we made 🙂

    Don’t mind the avocado stain on her shirt and dirt all over her knees…she’s a messy kid.

    This is the playset we used

    Online they have it listed for $1299.99 but in the store they were selling it for $999. So definitly worth looking into getting it at your local store.

    • We didn’t instal the front slide. This was mainly began as space issue rather than a problem with it aesthetically, however I really ended up liking how it looks more like a little house. -We then blocked off the opening with extra wood we had, it doesn’t matter if the wood matches if you are going to be painting it anyway.
    • The most obvious alteration: We painted it white – Julian and his dad used a paint sprayer to make it a bit easier and we painted everything except the door.
    • We Removed all of the green window accents and added wood crossbeams to the large upstairs window and the opening where the slide would have been. I stained them to match the door.
    • I changed the door handle to a more modern gold handle that I had left over from our kitchen cabinet remodel.
    • Spray painted the bell gold and moved to to the side of the door instead of on top.
    • Didn’t install the A-frame molding about the door or the flags above the slide- I still have a plan to put a real flag on there but I haven’t quite gotten there yet.
    • One of my favorite changes that we made was moving the grill set to the side. We thought it would be more fun (since the slide was gone) to use the spot the grill was supposed to go as a serving station/open window.
      • To do that we cut a 1×8 piece of wood to fit and used shelf brackets under to hold it in place. I had some marble contact paper on hand so I jazzed up the shelf with that. It seems to be fairing well even with the sprinklers! (More photos below)

    • Since our playset backs right up to some bushes (with just enough room to climb) I wasn’t all that concerned with aesthetics of the rock wall BUT if yours was in the middle of the yard and you wanted something other than the green, yellow, and red ones it comes with, you could look into getting some better looking climbing rocks, I know they sell grey ones etc. Just another idea!
    • Because of my obsession with plants I planted some vines at each corner – my hope is that it will eventually look like a magical fairytale forrest tree house. But thats still TBD. I also hung a little airplant at the “serving area” just by screwing in a hook.
    • Instead of putting the hanging bar between the swings we put our baby swing, which would only be a necessary change if you have a baby, of course.
    • Lastly, I made the upstairs fun by adding some bunting along the top, an outdoor rug and some pillows.
    • I looked into painting the slide so it wasn’t yellow but came up with no good ideas so yellow it is! I actually ended up kind of liking the pop of color but would still be open to something more mellow like a grey…If you come across any options that don’t involve buying a whole new slide- let me know 🙂

    And that’s it! The painting was a labor of love but most of those customizations were really easy and didn’t require a ton of effort. If you guys are putting it together yourself definitely plan on needing a couple or 3 days to get the whole job done – but you can do it!

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    Food & Drink

    Drink for Good: One Hope Wine (plus dinner party menu)

    We have been so excited about our backyard and hosting friends that for a few weeks there it was a non-stop party at the Hollar home! No complaints about that but we finally took a minute to slow down and have a smaller dinner party with just a few, a menu inspired by Ina Garten (you know that’s always a good sign) and the yummiest wine from One Hope.

    Side Note: Flower arrangement cameo apperance is from the floral arranging  tutorial with Hello Honey. 

    First off, have you guys heard of One Hope wine?! It’s is such a great business! A percentage of every bottle purchased goes to various non-profit organizations. Printed on the back of each bottle it says where exactly the proceeds are going – how cool is that?! They partner with organizations to help end childhood hunger, provide life saving vaccines, provide people with clean drinking water, support cancer medication development, aid veterans in finding a renewed sense of purpose,  and the list goes on and on!

    Admittedly, I was skeptical at first that the wine would be any good- don’t get me wrong, I certainly enjoy a nice two-buck chuck now and again but I have also learned to appreciate delicious wines as well and I can tell the difference! Starting at the first sip we were all blown away at how great this wine is! I mean really! Bottle after bottle, red after white, it never let us down. Everyone kept saying how impressed they were with it! You really need to give it a try! If you are already buying wine – might as well enjoy it while helping others right? It’s a win/win for everyone. They also have these suuuuper cute glitter bottles that I can’t wait to get my hands on!

    OK, have I won you over yet? I just really want everyone to try this wine because I know you’ll keep going back for more and so much good can come from it!

    You can learn more about it and purchase it here, through conultant Melissa Ferber, who generously provided all of the wine for our party 🙂

    (In case I need to clarify, I think this is a good time to point out that I only had a few sips of each wine, it probably equated to a glass or so in total. Don’t worry – I didn’t forget that I am pregnant 🙂 )

    Wine is great on it’s own but as we all know – it’s even better with food. I know, dinner parties can be A LOT of work but they are also A LOT of fun! So, to make things a bit easier I broke down all of the things I made and even how to prep for the party to make its easy-peasy. All of the recipes are inspired by or taken directly from Ina Garten, which means they will be your new favorites. Links to the recipes are below along with some of my own tips and a schedule that allows you to do almost everything before anyone even arrives allowing you to fully enjoy your party and your friends!

     Camembert & Prosciutto Tartines.  

    **alteration: I drizzled some honey on top because I figured, why not, and oooooh man – it was SO good! Do that.

    **tip: make sure all of the prosciutto gets a bit crispy – some of mine didn’t get roasted all the way and the crispy ones were definitely better!

    **alteration: Camembert is like brie but it is a bit stronger, if you would prefer a lighter taste to the cheese you could substitute with brie.

    Filet of Beef with Béarnaise Mayonnaise 

    OK so for this one, I didn’t want to make the mayo myself  because of the raw eggs and being pregnant. So, if that is a concern for you here’s what I did and it came out great!

    Sauté the tarragon, shallots, & wine (I use One Hope 🙂 ) as she says to do. I left the vinegar out because store bought mayonnaise already has vinegar in it. Then combine sautéed mixture with tablespoon of mustard and 1 cup of store bought mayo in a food processor. Voila!

    **alteration: A beef tenderloin isn’t really an inexpensive piece of meat but it is DELICIOUS and is the consistency of butter. It’s really great for a special occasion. But you could also make the same bearnaise mayonnaise with your favorite cut of steak to make it more of an everyday meal.

    Parmesan Chive Smashed Potatoes 

    Butter Lettuce with Mustard Vinaigrette (below)

      Mustard Vinaigrette Recipe (Hollar Family Recipe):
    2tsp salt
    tsp pepper
    3tbs Dijon mustard
    1c apple cider vinegar
    1tbs honey
    1c olive oil
    1c vegetable oil (or canola)

    In dressing shaker, using a blender or hand mixer, mix first 5 ingredients.
    Add olive oil and Vegetable oil and mix again.

    Chocolate Creme Brûlée 

     

    Day before:

    • Make mayonnaise cover & refrigerate (can be done 2 days in advance)
    • Make creme brûlée custard, cook, let cool, cover, & refrigerate.
    • Prep/wash lettuce, dry, cover & refrigerate.
    • Make dressing and refrigerate. (can be done 5 days in advance)

    Day of:

    • Afternoon:
      • Boil potatoes & smash on baking sheet. Cover & set aside until time to cook.
      • Prep chives & parmesan
    • About an hour before guests arrive prepare the tartines and stick in the oven a few minutes before they arrive.
    • About an hour and a half-ish before you want to eat (probably 30 minutes before guests will be arriving) butter meat and stick in the oven.
      • If you have two ovens this works. If you don’t have 2 you can just put roast in immediately after the tartines come out and eat a little later.
      • Another option would be to put the meat on the grill rather than in the oven; this is actually what we did because Julian really wanted to cook it in his Big Green Egg.
      • You can also do what Ina recommends to do and cook roast up to 2 days in advance (store in fridge) and serve at room temp with mayonnaise – she says it’s delicious.
    • When meat has about 20 minutes left stick potatoes in the oven. (If cooking meat in advance just do this 30min before you want to eat)
    • After dinner caramelize sugar on creme brûlées.

    **Notice that all you are actually doing while the guests are there is sticking potatoes in the oven and crystallizing sugar for the creme brûlées! That gives you the ability to actually enjoy your guests!

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