About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer at http://tamaracamera.com/, a mama of two, a writer/blogger at http://tamaracamerablog.com and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. http://themotherofallmeltdowns.com. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter and son in glorious western Massachusetts.

Summer’s Day: EASY Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches

These EASY Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches are perfect for a summer day! You only need four ingredients, and these are perfect for parties and play dates. #recipe

I have to say – most of my summer days are wrapped and built around the attainability of the perfect ice cream.

This weekend had no exceptions. Summer started last week with fanfare. Des graduated preschool in front of 1 sister, 2 parents, 1 baby cousin, 1 Aunt, and 4 grandparents. We took Scarlet out of school for the hour long ceremony/crossing the bridge/potluck lunch, and then took her back to school for the school summer solstice ceremony! That’s a mouthful. We found out then and there that she was giving a speech and presenting flowers to some of the retiring teachers. Be still my heart! Somewhat importantly, I survived two school ceremonies featuring my kids. I did get emotional at both schools.

I did not, however, get that light-headed, floating-away, terrifying anxious feeling I sometimes get.

These EASY Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches are perfect for a summer day! You only need four ingredients, and these are perfect for parties and play dates. #recipe

Summer did start, but summer vacation starts today. Next time I see her, she’ll be a third grader. She’ll have eaten my hand-packed lunch and she’ll have spent time in her future classroom with her future teacher. What a year it has been. So much growth. So much growing. A lot of bad weather and good dreams. So much wondering why the time goes through your hands like liquid sometimes. I’ve opened my heart during the last week in ways I didn’t know it was capable of discovering.

What do we do now? Where do we go from here? We just ride the waves – surf them high, and surf them low.

I had what can only be described as a WONDERFUL weekend. I’d say perfect, but that’s so overrated. It was summer. It was sun on skin, and closeness, and big steps out of my usual footsteps. In fact, I’ll update about that SOON. I had to be brave this weekend, but I wasn’t as scared as I was before my first roller coaster. So there’s that. I promise I’ll share soon! In things I can talk about, I went to a dinner party on Friday night. My friend’s family is away and she had a group of women over for a Moroccan dinner, homemade strawberry shortcake, and hours of laughter, stories, and Cards Against Humanity.

My cheeks are still sore from smiling.

On Saturday morning, I had a haircut. I asked Scarlet to come along and we ruled that salon! We had a good 45 minutes in a massage chair, and kept smiling at each other and laughing. It was unexpected and also a good bonding experience. Those chairs are somewhat awesome. She also got her nails painted red. Then we went to the library for her first library card.

At night we went to the town fireworks. I thought it would be just the two of us, but Des was ready this year. Cassidy came with us too because I was burning out faster than I’d like. We found some of the same friends from my Friday night dinner – but with their husbands and kids – and sat with them to watch the show. I love the finale, and also I love when it’s over and hundreds or thousands of people are walking back to their cars late on a summer’s night. Some carrying kids, some pushing strollers, and many carrying cotton candy/ice cream. After the looong walk to our car, the kids fell asleep fast at home.

Sunday was more unexpected. I had planned to go strawberry picking with my friend who threw the dinner party, and Cassidy and Scarlet wanted to throw a lemonade stand. I wound up with them for about an hour, seeing a few friends come and go, and then my friend picked me up for strawberry picking. It’s nothing short of incredible to hang out with a friend for a few hours – talking, laughing, sharing stories, and having nowhere to be at any given time. That’s all I can say about that.

Pure friendship magic.

And all this magic and summer needs a wonderful recipe:

Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ingredients

Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vanilla Wafer Cookies
Ice Cream, flavor of your choice
Sprinkles

Directions

  1. Lay out cookies on a baking tray.
  2. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, put a small scoop of ice cream on each cookie and place another cookie on top. Press down gentle to get the ice cream around the edges.
  3. Roll the ice cream sandwich in the sprinkles until the ice cream is covered.
  4. Place in the freezer for about an hour until the ice cream has hardened again.
  5. Enjoy this fun little treat!


Enjoy!

These EASY Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches are perfect for a summer day! You only need four ingredients, and these are perfect for parties and play dates. #recipe

7 Ways To Strengthen Your Bond With Your Dog

I have partnered with “I and love and you” for this post.

Do you love your dog like crazy but you don't always have as much time to bond as you'd like? Try the 7 tips for strengthening that important bond! #ad #ILY

Lately, I worry that Athena is feeling a bit left out.

Life is full force, even more than usual! We have almost completed our chicken coop, and moved all 11 chickens in. We still have to add their egg boxes, but they’re not old enough to lay eggs yet anyway! Juniper the cat, in seeing an unusually high amount of chicken energy, has taken to sleeping on my feet just to make sure I still love her. (I do) Des graduated preschool this week, and Scarlet gave a speech into a microphone in front of HER ENTIRE SCHOOL. Who is this girl? I’m not kidding!

Cassidy is building gardens, I’m taking on way too many work projects, and we have architects and builders traipsing in and out of the house to get our two year renovation plan underway. See what I mean about full force ahead? It hasn’t been quiet at all. May was pretty much an entire month of rain, and Athena HATES rain! (she gets that from her mama) I have often found her cuddling and huddling on her special chair upstairs. And did I mention she almost lost her chair?? That’s more of the craziness! One of our loved ones had major heart surgery and Cassidy offered him our chair. Luckily for him, he already had a suitable chair. Luckily for Athena, she still has her little “nest” in her chair! Thats one point for Team Athena.

That said, summer has started and I’m going to take a lot more breaks. With the kids heading to camp soon, I want to make sure our dog knows that we still love her as much as we did, and that we’d rather just sit and watch the world go by with her too. We don’t want to be on the go all the time. We want summer days at the water, some ice cream and watermelon, and bonding time with our girl. In fact, today I have it scheduled to go read a book by her side in the garden. I can’t wait!

This week is Animal Rights Awareness Week, and I’m celebrating with my favorite I and love and you. Animal Rights Awareness Week was started in 1999 by the animal rights group, In Defense of Animals, to help raise awareness of animal rights. They educate the public about the basic needs of animals around the world – and advocate for the humane and compassionate treatment of all animals. This extends from our own beloved pets to companion animals, farm animals, wildlife, and animals used for testing. I have been using this week to think of ways to strengthen my bond with Athena.

pet care

7 Ways To Strengthen Your Bond With Your Dog

1 – Start training, if you haven’t already, or maintain it. This creates communication between your dog and you. It helps her focus, and fosters teamwork and belonging. We teach her to come, sit, stay, down, down-stay, etc. Teach your dog a new trick once a month. This will make your dog smarter, and will strengthen your bond.

2 – Don’t just play with her. Keep it special and engaged. When we first got Athena, we took her to the beach and she SWAM with us! We were so surprised. Fun and agility-based activities build loyalty and a deeper relationship.

3 – Have quiet time together. No gadgets, no screens, no devices – just the two of you.

4 – Travel together. I first fell in love with Athena because of how awesome she was on our annual Cape Cod vacation. And I think she falls in love with us a bit more each time we trust her enough to take her on our adventures.

5 – Turn negative experiences into positive experiences. Athena hates grooming and bathing, but those are bonding experiences in themselves. Use treats, toys and a slow transition to make the experiences more positive.

6 – Create in your dog a sense of purpose. Dogs want to work and serve and play and focus.

7 – Feed at a specific time of day. With our cat, we leave food for her all day, but with Athena, we feed twice a day at the same time. She will tell us when it’s time if we forget! This will make her depend on you, and bond to you more.

And feed your dog high-quality food. We love I and love and you. Based in Boulder, CO, this amazing company makes super pet food and treats that contain everything pets need to be happy and healthy. The food and treats contain none of what they don’t need. All choices are made with real meat and they contain no grains, fillers, or anything artificial.

They’re all approved by a holistic veterinarian for uncompromising quality.

pet food

Find “I and love and you” at your local grocery store, or online!

Enjoy your bonding time!