Monday, July 29, 2013

Some stuff...

And so another weekend has come and gone.
This one was just simple and slow and quiet and I loved every minute of it.
This was my last weekend before I leave for Young Life camp and TJ leaves for a new rotation (someday I'll stop being so vague about our situation). Sadly this means I wont see him till probably Labor Day weekend so I'm so glad we just got to soak up time together without any schedule or to do list.

The weekend included a Dunkin Donuts and Whole Foods run for crullers, hummus, pita chips, olives and other picnic foods that we nibbled on while watching a bunch of our favorite movies and just relaxing together.

Also, just so you know, TJ has never seen an episode of Friends. Let that sink in.
Did you know there are normal people out there who've never seen this show?
I mean it's on all the time and it's the funniest show ever and don't even try to argue with me on this point. I own the entire box set so you better believe I'm making him watch every episode with me at some point. Sunday we alternated between an inning of the Braves game followed by an episode of Friends. It's going to take us a long time to get through all 10 seasons at this rate. Good thing I plan to keep him around for a while.

This week will include:
  • Getting everything as organized as possible at work so I don't come back from camp with a mountain hanging over me. 
  • Packing!! I just know I am going to forget something essential and so my lists have started to take on multiple pages.... Y'all we are DRIVING to Colorado! That's 32 hours on a bus with my high school friends. Let's just say I'd rather be over prepared.
  • Happy hour with the roommates and boyfriends. While TJ has been up here this month I have admittedly neglected my roommates a bit and opted to spend basically all my free time with him. I'm hoping we can do a big fun night this week all together before August comes and everyone is elsewhere. 
  • More packing. And then I'll probably take everything out to repack and consolidate and then just give up and bring everything. 
  • Pray over all the girls in my cabin and commit this verse to memory so that I never forget (on that 32 hour bus ride when I'm starting to lose my mind) why I am going to camp and why I want these high school friends to have the best week of their lives:

    "For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hot and Crabby

Picking up where my last post left off... We met up with my mom and dad in Annapolis on Saturday and had just the best time even thought it was brutally hot. We strolled along main street and checked out the boats docked along the pier, ducking in and out of stores for relief along the way.  I love Annapolis' brick streets and row houses and the waterfront and I'm glad I got show that part of Maryland to TJ. He's a South Carolina boy and Annapolis has a very Southern feel to it. 
We took a much needed break from the heat at one of my favorite spots, McGarvey's, and got a pre-crab feast snack of crab dip and my favorite garlicky mussels. It's dark and cool in there and we geared ourselves up before heading back out in the sun to visit the Naval Academy.

The grounds and the architecture of the Naval Academy are beautiful and even kept this army boy interested-although none of us envied the plebes walking around in full uniform that day. Again more shade hunting and AC seeking ensued before we'd had enough of the heat and headed back to our cars and onto my favorite part of the day... Cantler's.

Cantler's has the best crabs! There is always a waiting list and it is always worth it. Fortunately you can enjoy a beer in the parking lot while you wait. They have seating inside but we prefer to sit on the deck (under an umbrella) and enjoy the breeze off the water. We were still sweating but we were well rewarded for our efforts.  Have you ever seen anything better looking than that big platter of old bay covered crabs?  All I know is my summer is not complete until I've gotten to enjoy crabs.
In between banging our mallets on the claws, breaking open the back fin, and picking all that delicious meat off the shell, my parents got to know TJ a little better. He fits in just fine! Fortunately he's a talker like the rest of us- you kind of have to be in order to get a word in with our family- and just as easy going as can be. It was such a fun, albeit too short, visit as usual.  Next month TJ will be in Washington state for a new rotation so I am really glad we we're able to make this weekend happen. He definitely gets the stamp of approval (and so did those crabs).

(p.s. All these photos are from my mom so if you read her blog than I apologize for the duplicates- it was just too dang hot to be fooling with a camera.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

This weekend I...

Friday night I went to my first ever Nationals game (and my second ever major league baseball game). We ended up getting there a little late as my date got caught up at work. This was no big deal to me as it was much cooler by the time we got there (only 90 degrees instead of 100) and 4 innings of baseball is good enough for me.

TJ probably didn't realize what he was getting in to as I really know very little about the mechanics of the game-like I've said before, I'm there more for the atmosphere and the food. He happily explained who's who and what's what to me and we got to see most of the big game changing action. The Nats stadium is absolutely beautiful and it was a huge crowd. We're Braves fans but it would definitely be fun to go to more games! And this also means I checked off #58- I am really starting to knock these off my list thanks to my cute helper.

Saturday I planned to sleep in before we headed to meet my parents in Annapolis. But plans changed quickly when my mom texted me at midnight letting me know my dad's flight home from Canada to NJ was cancelled. After much rearranging he was instead going to fly straight to Dulles in the morning. Even though I had to get up much earlier than I prefer to on a Saturday (or any day really) I was so excited to pick up my dad from the airport and have extra father daughter time.  We tooled around a farmer's market and we got a recommendation for a yummy breakfast spot that is popular with the locals. I hardly ever go out for breakfast and was so glad to find this place. It's a hole in the wall with old fashioned wooden booths and really great bacon and blueberry pancakes. It hit the spot and I plan to become one of those locals.
After breakfast and a little nap we picked up TJ and drove to Annapolis to meet up with my mom who was driving down that morning. My mom also brought the camera which means I'm gonna re-cap Annapolis in another post once I "borrow" some of her images. For now I'll  leave you in suspense on how the "meet the parents" went.  Happy Monday!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Five on Friday

one. 
I finally decided to purchase my domain name and it was a really smooth transition. I set it up with godaddy and then blogger seamlessly redirects everyone. And bloglovin even changed my URL for me and moved all my followers over to the new address. You probably didn't even notice all these changes but I am pretty excited about it! I am officially a dot com.

two.
Tonight I am going to my first Nationals game (#58 on my list) with TJ. He's that guy who keeps popping up on my blog lately and he was able to get us discounted tickets through the military. It's gonna be hot and sticky tonight but I'm still really excited. I love baseball games (way more fun than watching them on tv), mostly for the atmosphere and the hot dogs and the beer.

three.
Tomorrow we are going to head over to Annapolis and meet up with my parents for crabs!! Maryland crabs are maybe my favorite food. TJ has never had them before. I mean he's had crab, just not straight out of the shell, on brown paper covered tables, covered in old bay, sitting by the water. I'm excited to show him how it's done. I am an excellent crab picker.
four.
I leave for Young Life camp in exactly 2 weeks! AHH! I am so pumped. We are driving to Colorado with two bus fulls of high school kids for the best week ever! I have so much to do to prepare for this trip- packing and praying being number 1. For those who are interested this is where I will be....


five.
Yesterday I went to buy a more conservative bathing suit for camp-do you know how hard that is to find? Even harder to find a cute one.  Since I doubt I'll wear this outside of camp I didn't want to spend a fortune either. So I ended up getting this tankini top from Target to wear with bottoms I already own. It's not awful but it doesn't fit great since Target for some reason doesn't carry xs bathing suit sizes (can someone explain that to me?). It'll work though- for white water rafting and pool olympics and the water slide.  I also recently got me some Chacos-I've been wanting a pair for a while. My Young Life leader status is officially confirmed.


Happy Friday! Head over here to link up!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

#40- Ten Pinterest Recipes

Pan Fried Okra Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa Coca Cola Cake Spiced Linzer Cookies Bacon Wrapped Smokies Roast Lemon & Garlic Chicken Summer Squash Peach Cobbler Orange Creamsicle Cookies Pinterest Image Map
{Click on the individual images above to be taken to the original source or click on the links below to read my post about these yummy dishes!}

1. Pan Fried Okra
2. Grilled Salmon
3. Coca Cola Cake
4. Spiced Linzer Cookies
5. Bacon Wrapped Smokies
6. Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
7. Roast Chicken
8. Summer Squash
9. Peach Cobbler
10. Orange Creamsicle Cookies

I haven't written a post about these cookies yet so I'm tacking it on here.
Cookies, and baking cookies in general, is not really ideal for the hot temperatures we're experiencing. But the orange citrus flavor and the softness made them so light and perfect for summer. They don't really taste like a creamsicle (they're cookies...) but they were still so delicious! I made them for a care package and shipped them to Charleston (and took some in to the office to share). I think they may have melted and reformed on their trip down South but I still got encouragement to send more cookies!  

#40 was an easy one to check off my list. I will definitely keep working my way through all those recipes I've pinned- I'd love to say I've tried them all one day!

Click here to follow me on Pinterest!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

happy hodgepodge

I am linking up over a my mom's blog this week. 
I'm trying to get back in the routine of posting more than once a week...

1. When did you last send a postcard? Receive one? Do you save postcards sent to you? Do you collect and/or send postcards when you travel? 
I can't remember the last time I sent a post card but my momma sends me postcards all the time! In college when the family was still living overseas she sent my postcards of all things British to help with homesickness and make me smile. I still have these displayed in my room, tacked on to a old shutter. I still love the pictures and the sweet words inside.

2. What treat do you most like to indulge in while on vacation?
Sleeping in.
Time to enjoy breakfast.
Pina Coladas- hehe

3. Are you good at hiding your feelings? 
Are you serious? Please. I think I've made it quite clear that I can't keep anything a secret. My feelings are no exception. Let's just say I'm an emotional person and leave it at that...

4. Does your town/city/county still deliver telephone books to your home? Do you check the yellow pages when searching for a local business number or has the internet replaced the phone book in your home?
I think we get a condensed version delivered to our home. And I think the last thing I used it for was to kill a spider before throwing it away. Let's save some trees and just accept that the internet owns us.

5. Would you rather be first or last? 
First. Especially if it's something intimidating or a little scary. I don't want to have time to talk myself out of doing something. I'd rather go first, jump in the water, eat the grasshopper, and get it over with. If we're talking board games I don't really care about winning- in fact I used to cry whenever I had to send someone home in the game "Sorry".  I don't like others to feel bad about themselves because of me. Now, Monopoly is a completely different matter. I WILL own all the railroads. And I WILL win!

6. July is National Park and Recreation Month.Where and when were you last in a park? Did you participate in any recreational activities while you were there
There is what I guess you could call a park near my office. It's more of a square but it's got trees and benches and food trucks. I walk past it every day and often eat lunch there. As far as recreation goes...on Tuesdays they offer a free yoga class after work in the park that I'd like to try. Just not sure how I feel about all the professionals seeing me in happy baby pose...

7. What was one of your worst ideas? 
One time I thought I wanted to do track in high school.... yeah that lasted maybe 1 practice.

Head over here or click below to share your answers!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Newseum and Nintendo

Just wanted to share a couple snippets from this past weekend.
Saturday me and this guy headed in to the city to visit the Newseum with two of his friends from Charleston. I had never been before and was really excited to check off #83 from my list.
 
Before you even get inside you can check out the front page of a newspaper from every state which is pretty cool. My favorite exhibit was the Bloomberg Internet, Tv and Radio Gallery. This gallery followed the evolution of media displaying memorable radio and news clips and interactive videos from the different points of history. It's truly amazing how accessible the world is these days and how tuned in we can be. Even crazier is how much power a news station or a reporter has to influence how we see the world. I think that's been pretty evident these days...

The 9/11 exhibit is just incredible. The stories and pictures from that day still shake me up. In the center of the quiet room is the broadcast antenna recovered from the rubble one of the twin towers. The gallery wall is covered from floor to ceiling with the newspapers from all over the world. There you see every journalist's attempt to make sense, to convey meaning, to understand those horrific events.
(source)
The tickets are a little pricy, especially as so many  museums in D.C are free, but they are good for two days if that helps. I definitely would go back and take the time to watch a lot of the documentaries we skipped. And it would be a great place to take out of town visitors.

After a lot of walking around and a lot of reading (obviously the Newseum is a little wordy) we headed back to my house forbirthday cook-out for my roommate's boyfriend's birthday. And what you're looking at below is a group of 20 somethings playing Mario Kart (best ebay purchase ever). The fact that some of us still remember where the short cuts are located on each course is nothing to be embarrassed about in our group.  In fact, I think I need to put in some practice hours. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

those girls

I never did a recap about my fourth of July weekend and one of my friends made sure to point that out to me. What can I say... I've been busy. They forgive me though. And I think I've said it a time or two that every time we're together it's like no time at all has passed.

The roommate and I were well prepared for our get away. I made red, white a blue sugar cookies and the roommate made chocolate chip cookies, plus chocolate covered pretzels, and white chocolate chex mix. Yeah... we were set.
The weather unfortunately did not cooperate with our plans to spend all day everyday out on the boat. So instead we played A LOT of Bananagrams and got caught up on everyone's lives and we stuffed ourselves on yummy BBQ, and chicken salad, and steak, and shrimp and grits, and all the food I miss up in Maryland... her parent simply spoiled us!
On the actual 4th we didn't let the rain keep us from celebrating! And fortunately the sun came out the next day so we could really enjoy the lake. We got to ski and some of us got sun burned and most importantly some good talks were had slowly cruising around the coves for hours and hours until we ran down our supply of beverages and gasoline.  
On the boat, on the water, surrounded by those girls who know me even when it's been months since we've seen each other, there is nothing better! 
We don't agree on everything; we love each other and we challenge each other. 
We have different dreams and plans, but oh how I hope we do this for the rest of our lives. 
Make real face to face time a priority. 
One day we'll have less freedom in our schedules, there will be more responsibilities and families of our own. But I think girlfriends, like sisters, are essential for getting through all the different seasons of life.
I'm so blessed by those girls.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Giblets

There is nothing I like more than handling giblets and raw chicken at 7am.
I'm sorry-that was a typo.
There's actually a huge long list of stuff I'd rather do at that time of day. Mostly I'd rather be in bed.

Monday morning I woke up early and put together a crock pot dinner for myself and a certain someone to enjoy that night after work. For a while I have really wanted to make a whole roast chicken because it seems like the epitome of domestic goddess-ness. But I really couldn't be motivated to cook a giant chicken for just little ol' me. And unfortunately roasting a whole chicken requires a little bit of time and patience, which I very little of when I get home from work at 6PM. Plus I'm usually already hungry at that time.

Enter crock pot. Did you know you can roast a whole chicken in your crock pot? However even with that beloved pot I still had to get up a little earlier and, you  know, clean out the bird.

After I removed the giblets (gross, yuck, ew) I followed this Ina Garten recipe for lemon and garlic roast chicken. She obviously has tons of time to cook her chicken in the oven for an hour and a half but I simply prepped mine in the same manner, popped it in the fridge and then asked my lucky roommate, who was off work for the day, to put it in the crock pot and turn it on for me later in the morning.

My favorite part of crock pot meals is walking into my house after it's been cooking all day.
The house smells like a home.

I decided to put the chicken in the oven for a few minutes to brown up the skin since crock pots don't do that. For the side dish I also fixed another recipe I had pinned, roasted summer squash. I modified the recipe and heated the oven up to 425 and cooked it for just about 15 minutes instead of half an hour. Ain't nobody got time for that.

And for dessert I made peach cobbler with fresh peaches. It was a combination of The Vanilla Tulip and Paula Deen's recipes.

I could never be a food blogger because I completely did not take a single picture of any part of this meal. Fortunately no one really seems to be that interested in blog posts on Fridays, especially during the summer, so I'm not too ashamed. The only evidence of my culinary success is the chicken salad I made with the leftovers and a certain someone who thinks I can cook!

2 cups cooked chicken 
2 cups halved green grapes
2 hard boiled eggs (whites only)
couple stalks of celery diced

1/2 cup of mayo
pepper

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's Wednesday

I have a short week as I'm sure a lot of you do. Our office is closed Thursday AND Friday and we are closing down early on Wednesday.  So really, if you think about it, today is like my Wednesday. I have a pretty exciting month coming up and am hoping I can stay motivated while I'm living for the weekends.

This past weekend I took the train up to my parents.

On Saturday my mom and I went to a friend's bridal shower. This shower was for a girl I met on the first day of pre-school.  We became fast friends and stayed in touch after my family moved first to Maryland and then England. Her family even came and visited us overseas. I think it's so surreal that these two girls, whose friendship was founded on mutual shyness and a shared love of dress-ups and a good spinning skirt, are now grown-up girls celebrating weddings.  Guess the love of dressing up never goes away.
The shower was different from any other I've been to. For starters it was a surprise. The bride's fiance lured her under false pretenses to the restaurant where we were all waiting. I honestly had no idea it was a surprise and am really glad I didn't ruin it (you know my history with secret keeping). Apparently it's a rule in that part of New Jersey that the bridal shower has to be a surprise. But how shocked can you really be? I mean you are engaged- don't you kind of expect a shower at some point?

It was also different in that we had a full five course Italian lunch, complete with a pasta course and cannolis for dessert. Needless to say we were stuffed when we left the shower (four hours later). Mom and I were in need of a nap and in no way ready for a big dinner, so we spent the next few hours sitting outside just relaxing and listening to music . Since I didn't see my parents on my actual birthday they also gave me my birthday present, new portable iPod speakers, which definitely enhanced the outdoor experience.
It was even cool enough for Dad to build us a fire in the fire pit and he also grilled these giant Fred Flinstone steaks (vegetarians look away) which we enjoyed alfresco on the patio. 
Dinner was followed by Angel Food Cake with strawberries and whipped cream, my birthday cake of choice. I love how my family lets my birthday run all month long- how it should always be! 

The next day we had a leftover steak and eggs for breakfast and then my dad and I ventured out for a cruise around the lake in his MG. He also pulled into a parking lot on the way home and let me drive. I learned to drive manual on the other side of the car but it's been a while since my car required that much of me. I was pleasantly surprised that it's a bit like riding a bike. Although I was sweating at the end and I'm not sure I could handle shifting with my right hand. 
The rest of the day was spent playing pool and dominoes and watching movies on the couch. It was an easy peaceful day just enjoying my parent's company. I have a love/hate relationship with these short trips home. I love any second I get to spend with my family, but I hate that I have to turn around not even 48 hours later. Goodbyes are the worst, just ask this crazy pup...

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