I’m really looking forward to this weekend; we have a perfect amount of fun-plans and downtime on the calendar. I’m heading into Boston for a girls night with my best pals, plan to hit up a barbecue with friends, and will do a little grilling of our own too! I am acutely aware of the madness that is about to start as summer turns to fall and my book comes out. I spent much of this week working on event plans for the book launch, and as my fall calendar fills up, I’m relishing in these lightly scheduled summer days. Here’s hoping you also have a some quiet summer days ahead – before you get there, a few Friday links to get you to the weekend!Menu Planning. Nothing makes me feel like I have my life together more than knowing exactly what we’re having for dinner that night. It’s just one of those things that can take up some unnecessary nagging space in my brain, so I love to meal plan to take that off my to do list. I found a perfect, simple little white board to keep in the fridge and have been writing out our weekly meals on it help keep organized (find similar ones here and here). PS: See my post on my strategy for meal planning and grocery shopping!

Smoothie Kick. Speaking of meal planning, I am on a big smoothie kick lately and have been prepping and freezing them for the week ahead. I tried the Daily Harvest smoothies when we got back from vacation in an attempt to get my healthy eating back on track, and I loved the flavors and how convenient they were. I found one flavor that I really liked and attempted to recreate it at home (blueberries, bananas, spinach, almonds, dates, cacao!). I have been portioning out the ingredients in mason jars and freezing them, and then just pop them in my blender with milk. They’re super tasty, and Jane is into them too (great for getting in her fruits and veggies!). I use a top for the mason jar that has a reusable straw in it for Jane and I to sip on the go (and the straw has a stopper so she can’t pull it out – so key!).

New Recipes. In case you missed it, on the blog this week I shared a few new recipes for a Rosé Berry Granita – part cocktail, part dessert, a simple Pea, Ricotta and Parmesan pasta dish, and a full menu for a simple summer BBQ with the help of some easy food prep shortcuts.

Reading List. I’m making great progress on my reading list goal – 20 out of 24 complete! I just finished The Husband Hourby Jamie Brenner and I really enjoyed it – I read it in just 4 nights because I was so engaged in the storyline. It would be a great pick for a book club!Up next I’m cracking open Educated: A Memoir, which came highly recommend from sister! 

Back to School. I’ve been out of school for a decade now (UGH, I’m old!) but I still get that rush of excitement when I see the back to school sections pop up in stores. Give me some freshly sharpened #2 yellow pencils and I’m as happy as a clam. I got to go to a really fun event with Marshalls last week to check out some of the trends for fall and back to school, and I left feeling quite nostalgic for back to school shopping. It left me browsing for cute backpacks – like this color-blocked one for me and my favorite kids backpacks for Jane.