Up North // Stop One

We extended our already-long weekend by a few days and drove up to Indiana on Tuesday after work. First, we hit up the Fair household to meet baby Cana and hang out with the new family of four. It was a quick visit--only a day and a half-- but totally worth it. I spent as much time as possible cuddling with teeny tiny Cana and Deric was on entertain-the-two-year-old duty. Therefore, I had a nice and relaxing day with a baby snuggled on my chest while Deric and Isaac played hard outside, finding treasure and doing other pirate-y things.

Thanks, Fairs, for making such cute kiddos! ;)


Sneakity Peek

Deric and I have been incredibly productive this week. Every night we've been in the garage for a few hours working away on some fun projects. (All this productivity may or may not be linked to the fact that the Olympics are done and it only makes us sad to watch anything else on tv.) One more trip to Lowe's and a few more hours this weekend should finish up both of our projects, which would make this a new record for us. Gold medal, please. :)

Oh, I should share our jungle-turned-flower-bed that I worked on last weekend. I averted my eyes all summer from the trainwreck that was our front yard, purposely waiting for a cool, wet weekend that would make weeding conditions much more bearable.  It rained the entire week beforehand, making it super easy to yank out those stubborn weeds. An hour or two later, and it was like looking at an entirely different house.

Back in a few days with full pics of our newest creations!


Peppers + Pasta

Our humble garden has been consistently handing over a few veggies at a time throughout this summer. A couple green beans here, some tomatoes there...its not enough to make a complete salad, but enough to top off a burger, throw in with some pasta, etc. Its the perfect size for a starter garden and we've got bigger and better plans for next summer's garden (which will be doubled in size).
Our latest harvest consisted of three palm-sized peppers: one fully green, two a Christmas-y mix of red and green (and not fully ready for harvest, we noted). We used the peppers in one of our all-time favorite pastas: sausage and pepper penne. Originally from one of those checkout counter magazines, we dumbed down the recipe and it now takes all of fifteen minutes start to finish.

You'll need: penne pasta (we use a full box so that we have leftovers); a jar of pasta sauce, 1-3 green peppers depending on size, half an onion, and one fully cooked kielbasa sausage.
Prepare the pasta as directed. Chop the peppers into bite-size pieces. Chop the onion. Slice the sausage. On medium heat in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add sausage, onion and pepper and cook until vegetables are soft and sausage is heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the entire jar of pasta sauce (remember, we make leftovers). Let simmer for about 2 minutes until sauce is heated.

Serve over pasta, topped with parmesan cheese.

Easy, right? And delicious to boot, especially when you have the privilege of eating peppers you grew yourself!


Third Time's a Charm

This past week I took my third trip of the spring/summer down to Charleston to hang out with Sarah. I love how many opportunities I've had to go to the beach under the guise of visiting/helping Sarah;) Just kidding...kinda. Deric held down the home front while I was gone for a few days, hanging out with the high schoolers, playing ultimate frisbee, and otherwise enjoying the week as a bachelor. Sarah's starting her first year as a kindergarten teacher in just a few short weeks and she asked if I'd come help her get her classroom in order, which I was perfectly happy to help with. I love all things kindergarten: the bright colors, thematic posters, Sarah's "weather panda" with its raincoat and boots, colorful rugs, and teensy little cubbies.

We spent Tuesday and Wednesday whipping her classroom into shape: digging through boxes left by the last teacher, rearranging tables and chairs and bookshelves, and running errands to Walmart and the teacher supply store. We also managed to sneak in a few trips to local Goodwills, which are substantially better than the ones we've got around here. I found a few shirts for cheap, but Sarah seriously lucked out with 'teacher clothes': J. Crew capris for $3, Target boots for $5, sweaters, skirts, etc. Goodwill trips will now and forevermore be on my agenda for future Charleston visits.

On Thursday Sarah rewarded me with our customary cinnamon rolls for breakfast and a long-awaited trip to the beach, where I got fried as usual. (Yes Mom, there is a sun in Tennessee-- but there's no beach!) Thursday night we headed into downtown Charleston for a seafood dinner. Fried green tomatoes, calamari, peel & eat shrimp (plus a few Cokes) from the Charleston Crab House and I was in heaven. Foo, thanks so much for choosing such a gorgeous city to live in!