Putting a Pause in Perfect

Every year, I wonder why we go on vacation. Seriously. Why? It's SO much damn work.

I think at some point when you have too many young kids you just think, fuck it. I might as well stay home. It'd be way more enjoyable anyway.

I could read a book and take a bath and binge watch everything I can find with a subtitle. Doesn't that sound like a good time? I think that sounds fucking fabulous.

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But I always convince myself this time will be different. The kids are older this year, I tell myself. It won't be so hard. But it's a lie. It's always hard. I think most of the time though, it's worth it just to get away from your own madness for a bit. Sure, it's still chaos. It's just a different kind of havoc. Same shit, slightly different flavor.

But if we don't get out of the house sometimes, we'll probably all kill each other eventually. So, vacation it is!

This past weekend we took a little jaunt to Bear Lake. We went twice last year, and it was all sunshine and white sands and that impossibly turquoise water that shimmered against the black shapes of the mountains. Gorgeous stuff. So when we packed up this time, I was prepared. Lots of sunscreen and swimsuits, hats and aloe vera.

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parenting-pause-perfection-kids

It rained. 

Sigh. Utah's kind of been doing this lately. Some years we jump straight from winter into the blistering heat of summer. Other years there is this blustery, chilly front of storms that sinks us into gray skies until July. I don't get it. But whatever is going on with our damn weather, it ruined all my plans.

I had visions of beach picnic shoots and bright, sunny shots that would give you all the summertime feels. I got cloud cover. Lots of it.

We went down to the beach and halfheartedly dug in the sand. Everyone was shivering. When the drizzle moved in, we moved out. And instead, I spent a lovely afternoon reading an entire book and taking a nap. Best vacation ever.

Because here's the thing. If I had stayed home, I wouldn't have done any of those things. You know it and I know it. I'd have found six other items that immediately demanded my attention in order to consider myself an adult. With a home, And a mortgage. And cars. And children. And that blissful afternoon of reading and snoozing would have gotten buried under a mantle of heavy responsibility.

Going on vacation forces me to spend time being unproductive. Sometimes I find that frustrating. I might huff and puff a little about it at first. But it's like eating vegetables. It's really good for me.

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So I put a pause in perfect. And I focused on enjoying good food and good friends and trying to be good to myself. It wasn't the perfect weekend. And I didn't mind one bit. But I did still manage to make some tantalizing summertime fare. Because, duh! We have to eat. Might as well do it right. So first, there was this.

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It was a wacky ride of wonderful with bursts of sweet, fresh watermelon, rum and topped with a splash of effervescence.

I highly recommend stirring up a pitcher and sitting on the back porch with your favorite friends until it's gone. That's what summer nights are for. These miraculous mojitos are courtesy of one of my favorite craft cocktail blogs, The Vintage Mixer

Next up was the main dish and boy, was it delish. It also happens to be perfect for Father's Day. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Yeah, that shit is coming up. Are you on it? 

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This is a grilled pizza adorned with oyster glazed mushrooms, arugula, balsamic flank steak, provolone, and drizzled with sirachi mayo. I know I had you at pizza but I just couldn't stop. One of our favorite food sites is Mantitlement and his recipes are always my go to on holidays and special occasions. I think you can see why.

And finally, these little gems. Looking like you just tripped over a tea party in the forest.

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I finally learned how to make Italian pastry cream for these little cups of delightfulness and it was so worth it. For awhile, I was stirring and stirring and panicking because I couldn't see how on earth this gloppy mess would be salvageable.

And then a splash of milk and all was right with the world.

We're not going to delve into this recipe today, but I've included the links below to both the almond tart crust and the pastry cream so you can recreate the magic for yourself.

Another storm blew in more rain and chilly temperatures on Sunday. By the time we were ready to pack up and go, I was almost sorry to leave. I knew all the productivity and pressure to be perfect was there, just waiting to sabotage me when I got home. But as we dropped down from the mountains and into the sunshine of the valley, it was hard not to let the warmth of all that light seep into my bones.

Besides, I'd had a nap. I was ready to take on the the world. Or at least the laundry.

Want the recipes from this post? Ask and ye shall receive:

Watermelon Mojitos by The Vintage Mixer

Grilled Steak Salad  Flatbread by Mantitlement

Italian Pastry Cream by Pretty. Simple. Sweet.

Almond Tarts by King Arthur Flour

Want to put your own pause in perfect? Follow A Sweet Little life on Pinterest for recipes and more.