someone new {and smashed strawberry floats}

"You have some poop on your shirt."  My husband said. 

I looked down. I did. 

I don't know if I can start a post with "It's been one of those weeks where you go in public with poop on your shirt..." but, here goes. 

In the past I have shared that I've had some abnormal signs of stress on the bod, ie: huge bald spot. 

When your body tells you something you couldn't quite figure out on your own, well that fact in and of itself is a little stressful. 

John and I don't have kids yet. That's not to say we don't want kids but such is the timing of life I guess. And, as I mentioned earlier with my new friend named bald spot, I thought it would be a good de-stresser to add to this little family while we wait for the kids to come rollin' in. I thought it was time to add some more joy to our lives. 

So we got a puppy.  

"You got a puppy?!" A friend asked, "That's worse than a baby!"

I don't know if that's true yet, but I laughed at the the sheer fact that it very well might be. 

But here we are with an adorable baby puppy frenchie girl named Sundae, "Sundae like an ice cream sundae."

Here are a few facts I have most recently learned about the public and puppies: 

1. I cannot go anywhere, and I mean anywhere without hearing awwws or seeing shadows. I've never before felt such an invasion of privacy as adults just creepily, silently stand behind me until I notice them, saying loudly, "Cute dog!" almost scaring the pants off of me. 

2. Adults for the most part feel as though puppies are public property. I had a lady literally come up to Sundae, scoop her up in her arms and start coddling her while I was two feet away. It made me squint a little. Kids, on the other hand, are the dearest people on earth and always ask if they can pet her. For some people, manners got lost in translation from kid to adult. 

3. Having a puppy is a bit like being a celebrity, everyone asks if they can take Sundae's picture or hold her. It's gotten so bothersome to me that I make John hold her when we go out into public... and it's only been a week (straight mouth face emoji).  I've laughed to myself as I see John caught up in conversations with ladies just gabbing away on subjects that have very little to do with puppies as they pet and ooo over Sundae. Even my mom the other day said, "Wow! I can't believe how much attention you guys get." Famous people, you have my sympathies. 

4. Puppies get even the manliest, full-grown bearded men to talk like babies. It. is. fabulous. 

5. "Who doesn't like puppies?" is a now a truer statement than ever before.  A few nights ago were waiting in the car while half of our party went inside to get ice cream, I just couldn't deal with the attention that late at night. While we were waiting, little Sundae rested her head on the open car window and this girl came out of a store and said,

"Well hello angel, how can I avoid that face when you're just beckoning to me like that?"

She came up to the car and started to baby talk, "Well you're not a dog, you're just a baby!" Sundae responded with kisses. She pulled away, "I have one too, a frenchie, but I didn't get her at this age, how fun for you to get her so little!"

Then she nestled her face up to Sundae's and whispered, "Okay bye! I love you!" 

So yes, while I did have have to scrub poop away from my shirt this week, AND don't worry, discovered little Sundae making a brown swirl sundae of her own underneath my bed last night, little Sundae does bring so much joy.

Joy to me, helps reduce stress or at least distract us from it and importantly jolts things into perspective. There, that's my point.

I hope whatever it is in this incredible life we've been given, that you find the things that truly bring you so much joy. Like puppies, and friends and ice cream floats.

 Happy Fourth of July friends. I hope it's filled with illegal fireworks and fun. 

Smashed Strawberry Float with Brown Sugar Balsamic + Thyme Syrup 

barely adapted from Bon Appetite 

makes 4-5 

I dunno about you, but when it's this holiday, I just kinda wanna chill (especially if I've been at the grill all day). Speaking of which, if you're a vegetarian on the fourth, I feel you. In college I was on a vegetarian diet and brought freshly marinated zucchini to a Memorial Day BBQ. People kinda snickered at the site of green squash among the meat, but then when they smelled the garlic hitting the grill they all wanted some. I feel like this float has that same effect. If your guests been living under a rock they may not be up to speed on the balsamic + strawberry thingy. They might snicker or shake their head and say, "that's gross." 

That's okay, they'll like it I promise. I like it so much I ate 3 of these little floats in a row. We don't need to talk about it, but I will tell you, they're as good as they are easy. The red white and blue is of course a nod to our great nation's birthday. I couldn't resist. ;) 

Baker's note: Don't leave out the thyme. 

¼ cup / 50g brown sugar (light or dark)
¼ cup / 60ml water
1 cup / 236ml club soda
16 oz / 453g organic strawberries (about a pint)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (you can definitely add a little more if you like)
1 pinch of salt
1 quart / 1.89 liter vanilla bean ice cream (store-bought, highest quality)
1 bunch thyme

Bring brown sugar, 1 sprig of thyme, pinch of salt and water to a boil. Add balsamic vinegar. Set aside to cool for 15 mins. 

Cut steams off of strawberries and smash whole until they release their juices. (I did this by putting strawberries in a sealed zip lock bag and smashed with my fingers until slightly mushed. It's a therapeutic thing to smoosh a strawberry). 

The trick here is to evenly distribute the ingredients in little cups until it looks about right, don't fret too much over exactness here. To assemble, put a scoop of smashed strawberries and a scoop of the syrup at the bottom of a small glass or jar. Then add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, top with blueberries and a sprig of thyme. Add a splash of club soda and serve immediately with a spoon.

The point is to be a small refreshing dessert that people will probably want more of, I might plan on seconds. ;)