Friday, June 24, 2011

New Recipe

These BBQ Chicken, Brie and Plantain wraps were featured today on the Tasty Kitchen blog. I plan to try making them as soon as is humanly possible! For the complete recipe, clink on over to Tasty Kitchen.

{image via Tasty Kitchen}

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Trip

My baby left today on his trip to France and Spain. Well, he's not really my baby anymore, he's almost 16, but he'll always be my baby! He's off for 10 days of fun in Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid. I can't wait to hear his stories and see his photos when he returns!

{image via tumblr}

Friday, June 17, 2011

School's Out!

{image from Scout's Honor}

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Spring Garden

I grew up in a family that gardened. We had a plot of land behind our home in Washington state where we grew all kinds of vegetables, and for a few years, a neighbor even allowed us use of their one-acre plot behind our garden to plant with even more veggies. We had corn, green beans, squash, tomatoes, carrots and many more kinds of vegetables. I remember hours spent with my sister weeding and tending the garden. Our parents would pay us a quarter and we'd ride our bikes to the corner store to buy popsicles.

Not only did my parents garden, but my mother also canned. We had a pantry room filled to the brim with canned jars of green beans, peaches, cherries, tomatoes, and other foods, as well as a freezer filled with frozen vegetables. So when my boys kept asking to plant a garden, at least it wasn't a foreign concept to me.

Finally this year I gave in, cleared a space by moving a bunch of perennials, and bought seeds and starter plants. We turned the dirt, sprinkled in some organic fertilizer, planted a few seeds and plants and sat back to see what would happen. We planted carrots, radishes, beets, green beans, and onions from seed, and broccoli, cauliflower, chard, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, arugula, eggplant, cucumbers, and squash starter plants.

All in all, we've had a pretty good garden sprout up. The root vegetables don't seem to fare too well. We got a few radishes, but the carrots aren't doing well, and we'll have to wait and see with the beets. The green beans were doing great until we were gone for the weekend and the rabbits ate all the leaves off the plants. The lettuce, arugula, and herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley) have done well, but by far our best growers are the chard, broccoli, tomato, pepper, and squash plants. They have grown huge almost overnight. We've been eating chard for a while now, and picked our first cucumber yesterday. After a battle with cabbage worms, the broccoli is doing great and the heads have appeared and are growing bigger every day.

It's been a great experience for the boys. Kieran helps water the garden almost every day, and they have enjoyed eating some of the veggies from the garden. We definitely have learned what works well in our garden, and what we will skip next year.

Here are photos from the garden, both from April when we started the garden, then May when the plants were starting to grow, and more recently, the beginning of June when things were really thriving. Of course it's now been three more weeks and the plants are even bigger, so I will post an update soon.

{the garden center, picking out lettuces}

{this was a romaine-like lettuce}

{supplies: tomato plants, seeds, herbs, broccoli, and raspberry bushes}

{the garden, early april}

{the garden, early May}

{the garden, early June}

{broccoli, early April}

{broccoli, early May}

{broccoli, early June}

{chard, early April}

{chard, early May}

{chard, early June}

{eggplant, on right, early May}

{eggplant, in middle, early June}

{peppers, in pots on right, early May}

{peppers, early June}

{squash, early May}

{squash, early June}

{tomato plot, early April}

{tomatoes and basil, early May}

{tomatoes and basil, early June}

{tomatoes in pots, early May}

{tomatoes in pots, early June}

{tomato pot, early May}

{tomato pot, early June}


{perennial area, early April}

{perennial area, early May}

{some of our early harvest: lettuce, chard, radishes, arugula}

Monday, June 13, 2011

Assateague Island Camping

Every Memorial Day for the past five years, we have camped on Assateague Island. It's a beautiful seashore, just south of Ocean City, MD, and wild horses live all over the island. We love to camp at the National Park campground because pets are allowed and you can build bonfires on the beach. Plus, the beach along the campground is never crowded!

We have usually lucked out with beautiful weather and no bugs. This year was a little different for a few reasons. First off, we were late making our reservations so had to settle for a walk-in site that was a few hundred yards from the parking lot. We had to lug all our gear over the boardwalk and sand to our spot. Not fun. Second, it was warmer than usual this year, and the lugging of the gear didn't help! And finally, for whatever reason, there were tons of mosquitoes. As soon as we stepped out of the car our arms and legs were covered with them! A lot of bug spray helped with that problem. And on the upside, the walk-in sites have much nicer outhouses than the car camping sites.

In spite of much complaining (by me!) we did have a nice time. Kaden brought his best friend along, and my parents also camped with us. We had our usual fire on the beach and cooked dinner over it. There were lots of s'mores and gazing at the stars (we even saw a few shooting stars!). I'm thinking I'd like to try and rent a beach house next year though!

{we played soccer on the beach}

{and flew kites}

{the boys love to set and light the fire}

{beach volleyball is always a favorite activity}

{the water is too cold for me, but not the boys!}

{they could do this for hours}

{my parents had a great time camping with us too}

{love this photo of Kohler!}

{family photo on the beach}

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Foods

So many delicious summer-friendly recipes popping up on the web that I want to try! Frozen treats, cool drinks, hot weather dinners. Here's a run-down of recipes that are catching my eye.

Lemon Curd Shots with Raspberries and Pistachios
{image via Stephmodo}

Raspberry Margaritas
{image via Pink Basil}

Watermelon Mojito Popsicles
{image via Endless Simmer}

Yogurt Kabobs
{image via Mom Filter}

Ginger Limeade
{image via A Cozy Kitchen}

Pizza Skewers
{image via Baked Bree}

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

21 Things to Do This Summer

Every summer I like to get organized and plan various activities, both small and large, for our family. I am definitely a type-A, get-it-organized kind of girl, and even our down time is no exception! I do find that summers, like weekends and vacations, are best when there is some planning involved, otherwise time seems to fly by and at the end of the summer we look back and realize there were many things we had wanted to do that never got done. Plus, honestly, it's fun! I like planning out activities for us to do.

Here, then, is my list of 21 things we want to do this summer.

1. Go camping. There is nothing like a warm summer night spent in a tent.
{image from here}

2. Field trip to South Mountain Creamery. My husband is a huge ice-cream fan and would love a day trip to visit this working farm and sample some of the wares.
{image from here}

3. Game nights. Finally no homework or evening activities. Let's play some games!

4. S'mores in the firepit. Why wait to go camping to enjoy this treat?!
{image from here}

5. Build a fort. The boys have wanted a tree house for years. I'd like to buy a bunch of supplies and let them see what they can come up with (on the ground, not in a tree!).
{image from here}

6. Visit the Calder exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. Let's add some culture to our summer!
{image from here}

7. Hang out in the hammock reading lots of books. Enough said.
{image via Simple Lovely}

8. Plant and tend a garden. The boys have asked to do this for years.

9. Try out lots of Popsicle recipes. Haven't you heard? They're the new cupcake!
{image via Simple Lovely}

10. Watch movies outdoors. Drive-in theater, outdoor venues,  and by the neighborhood pool. Fun!
{image from here}

11. Learn to make a great cocktail. Got to use up all that mint growing in my garden.
{image via Everything Fab}

12. Lay in the front yard and look for shooting stars and fireflys.
{image from here}

13. Watch at least one season of a TV series from start to finish. Some possibilities: Curb Your Enthusiasm, True Blood, Burn Notice, Brothers and Sisters, The Killing, Walking Dead.
{image from here}

14. Take a family vacation!
{image via Flickr}

15. Practice making lots and lots of milkshakes.
{image from here}

16. Harry Potter movie marathon before the final movie comes out.
{image from here}

17. Go on a gelato tasting bender.
{image from here}

18. Check out Truckeroo. Food trucks in DC. Yum!
{image from here}

19. Jazz in the Garden at the National Gallery. At least one time. With a picnic dinner.
{image via Flickr}

20. Go to the Gaithersburg water park. With friends.
{image from here}

21. Enjoy a cool theater on a hot day. Summer movies!
{image from here}

What's on your summer list?