Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dog days of summer

Even though summer officially just started in terms of the calendar, we have been feeling the heat for a while. We have seen plenty of days in the 90's with a heat index of 103 or so. On Sunday, our AC went out so we have REALLY been feeling the heat. The situation is confusing, but in short it could have been fixed Monday, but now it will hopefully be fixed on Friday. I'm working hard not to wallow in self-pity over here, but I must admit that I have treated myself to an icee and lots of popsicles. Thankfully, my father-in-law brought over a window unit so we have that cranked up in our bedroom so sleeping hasn't been too bad. I'm struggling to have patience and trying to remind myself that AC is a luxury that many do not have. We are working hard on being positive and not complaining (too much).

Other life updates: the triathlon I was training for got cancelled. Not sure if I mentioned that on here before?, but yes, quite a bummer. I have to confess that once I heard it was cancelled I really slacked on the workouts. This week I am teaching VBS at our church which has been great, a little exhausting, but wonderful.

Here are a few scenes from summer thus far.

devouring popsicles to fight the heat. these are from trader joes & are delicious, strawberry & mango flavor.

a little slow morning time with some fresh south carolina peaches on my bowl of cereal

heaven on earth, i'm convinced. last week i spent at least two hours at the beach daily (eek, sorry but it was awesome).

lazy summer days have included a few naps for the two of us

scenes from last night: cereal in a mug (because its too hot in this house to turn the stove on) & a good read, all while sitting directly in front of the window unit & air blasting on my face.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dinner Club

About two months ago, I read the book Bread and Wine by Shuana Niequist and fell in love with her writing style and ideas. You will find a lovely mixture of recipes, life stories and faith that will leave you craving for a full house and delicious food.

Some of the ladies in my small group had heard about the book and decided it could be fun to read it and then meet weekly to make some of the recipes. At the end of the book, she separates it into four dinner clubs & provides a main course, salad, side and dessert for each week. Our first dinner club was two weeks ago where we had steak au poivre with a cognac sauce, simple greens with a light vinaigrette, risotto with mushrooms and a (healthy-ish) blueberry crumble. Everyone came over to my house and provided one of the dishes or wine. For hours we sat around our farmhouse table, with make-shift chairs due to the extra number of people, and it was wonderful. The salad was light and tangy and the perfect match for the steak. At first bite, I fell in love with risotto and ate more of that than my steak to be honest. It was savory and somehow risotto just feels comforting. And lastly, the blueberry crumble (with vanilla ice cream) was divine!

Week two began with mango curry chicken served over rice, goat cheese biscuits, a green well salad (topped with dried fruit & candied walnuts) and flour-less brownies to finish it off. Our sweet neighbor made the biscuits and I absolutely loved seeing her husband walking down the street carrying a piping hot cast iron skillet full of biscuits. We had a few more come this week so we again crammed in a few more chairs and sat extra close, which made it even more fun. Seeing my house full, connecting old friends with new friends and having a really loud dinner (where you laugh so hard you cry) makes me so happy!

I'm already looking forward to next week (bacon wrapped dates, white bean soup, feta watermelon salad and dark chocolate sea salted toffee)! I would encourage you to read this book & try out a few dinner parties of your own. Shauna Niequist talks a lot about how it doesn't need to be perfect or even fancy, just welcoming people into your home and sitting around the dinner table with folks creates such a bond and builds wonderful community. So don't be intimidated or feel like your house "isn't nice enough," people don't notice those things ... they care about feeling loved and appreciated. AND people love to help so don't feel like you need to do it all on your own; I'm learning to give guests a job and let them wash some dishes.

I intended on taking pictures this week, but let's be honest once I saw those biscuits it was useless, I wanted those things in my belly immediately. Maybe next week, but no promises!

Sunday, June 1, 2014


I've been missing from this space for a week or two because things got pretty crazy. May was an incredibly busy month and I've got to say that I'm a little happy to see it go. Hello June & welcome summer! Our last day of school was on Friday so I am officially in summer mode (although actually not officially because I still have a few teacher workdays left).

It was a great school year and I am proud of myself for a successful first year of teaching. I learned a lot & feel confident that we accomplished so many things. I am already excited to implement new things and improve on a few things next year.

Summer is by far my favorite season and I am thrilled that I will get to enjoy it fully. I plan on spending some quality time at the beach and being outside as much as I can (I am actually doing some work & volunteering this summer so I promise I'm not just hanging on the beach every day)! I'm sad that Will will be working crazy hours & that I won't see too much of him, but we'll get to enjoy the weekends together. Here's to beach days, the smell of sunscreen 24/7, Kohl's custard and lots of backyard hangouts!

Pictures from blueberry picking last week: