I started this post nearly two months ago. Summer is supposed to be a time of wonder, merriment and lazy living, yet for us, it was filled with a whirlwind of huge life moments. So many emotions have been swirling in my heart and mind. Some I’ve been briefly sharing on instagram, (jenschmidt _beautyandbedlam), but I’ve wanted to go deeper, capture each stage and then process it with you all. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will.
This update is for all my faithful readers who’ve been with me forever and may have given up wondering where Jen has gone. I’m coming back. And welcome to all my new readers. This is a safe place and I can’t wait to get to know you better as we enjoy experiencing beauty and bedlam together.
So here’s my recap without all the deep life lessons I’m learning along the way. Within a period of six weeks, our eldest son graduated from college (remember the “I can’t make this stuff up series with the snake in the hedge fund office and the crazy Craiglist, druggie apartment? Yes, him), our second son turned 21, our third son graduated from high school, our daughter turned 17 (which was the only non “big event of the summer) and our BABY, yes, our BABY became a teenager -13.
Amidst all that was our extended family beach trip (daily family devotions on the beach), a fun bridal shower to host, a huge family wedding which allowed us to enjoy my most favorite people sleeping everywhere around our house and another family reunion up the east coast. I could barely catch a breath.
We took #3 son to college yesterday and our daughter had all four wisdom teeth out this morning. There is no rest for the weary.
When I started this post, I first shared on IG about all the “lasts” I was about to experience.
“When your older children all just want to come home, it’s the greatest gift for a mother. Yet as I took this picture, it’s filled with varying emotions because it’s the “last” of so many things. Last Easter break before our eldest graduates from college; last high school spring break before our middle heads to college, and last Easter picture before our youngest officially becomes a teenager. It’s hard to believe that this next season will be filled with so many firsts. Not sure this momma heart is ready for them yet, but I’m gearing up. 💕 Exciting, life changing, life giving years ahead and it’s a privilege to journey with them.
After having a few months with this college graduate, he moved to downtown Chicago. Yes, downtown, as in one block off the lake and doesn’t even need a car. Growing up in Milwaukee, we warned him about the lake effect that is going to hit them hard in a few months, but again, life lessons.
I have a fun 15 Minute Party Planning post coming up soon, which stems from the shower I hosted. Honestly, I have quick hosting ideas down to a science, including how to decorate for them on a dime.
I need to hit “post” because I’ve overthought doing a series on all these monumental “life stages” that I have been going through and with that NOTHING got posted. I have a lot of “raising teen” posts coming though (or at least the drafts of them.) My life has been in the thick of it and I don’t mind being the one to share the good, bad and ugly (And then, the beautiful.)
Now I’m off to help cater a wedding. While it’s incredibly hard physical work, I take in all the creative ideas for my “hope to be” dream, party barn. While I first shared that post a few years ago with hopes of having it built by now, money does stand in the way. We’re still taking steps to make it a reality though and continue to dream big.
Can’t wait to share it all with you, as we dream together.
The last few weeks have been one of those non stop, go-go-go, invite a ton of people to your home kind of times. Last week alone we hosted two large parties totaling over 125 people.
There’s nothing more that I love than welcoming others to experience a bit of both our beauty and bedlam; they fill me to the brim, but they are also exhausting. A wonderful kind of exhausting, but still tiring.
I’ve come to the point where I can host large groups of guests like that because I will not let the stress of what our home looks like dictate how I approach the event. I guarantee the laundry will be cleared off the sofa, but please don’t open any of the closets.
I also know that it’s in the community of gathering that determines a wonderful evening. Well, that plus a great dessert, of course.
This Brownie Oreo Ice Cream Cake goes above and beyond in the summer dessert department. It combines all my favorite prerequisite – delicious, incredibly easy, fairly frugal and it can feed a HUGE group without stress setting in. [Read More…]
I walked into her kitchen and saw it simmering on the stove – my mom’s homemade Sloppy Joes. My mouth watered, and memories came pouring back, bringing me right back to my child hood.
“Oh Mom, it’s been forever since I’ve had your homemade Sloppy Joes. I just love them.”
It’s amazing how one simple recipe can do that, isn’t it?
There’s something so special about the way family recipes create lasting memories. Typically, there are stories surrounding them, and yet often we don’t take the time to gather those recipes until it’s too late. Originally, this Sloppy Joe recipe came from my Aunt Lori, passed onto my mom and then served at so many of our family get togethers and birthdays.
Last year, I shared how I am slowly gathering up recipes because one of the heirloom treasures I want to pass on to each of our children when they leave the nest is a Family Recipe Album, complete with handwritten Recipes for Joy. (I’ve attached a template for my Recipe for Joy cards, for those interested.)
When I saw my mom’s handwritten recipe cards this past Christmas, I began brainstorming ways I could use them to decorate in my kitchen. I love the drops of sauce, the fingerprints, the scratched out spots where she was figuring the math for extras – so many memories inclosed in those few lines.
I don’t have a full wall to dedicate for special family recipes like this, but for those who do, what a wonderful way to add a cherished bit of history and personality to a wall.