Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer Recap

According to the calendar, summer doesn't officially end for another month, and according to the typical weather around here, it could actually continue through mid-October.  But, since we are teachers, our summer really ended Tuesday.  It is back to school time. So here is a look back at Summer 2013.

Where I Went:

Tryon Palace, New Bern North Carolina.  At the end of June, Jordan and I took a quick weekend getaway.  Our first stop was New Bern, to visit the first Governor's palace in NC.  Beautiful, and, funnily enough, very British.  It was, of course, a British government building before the Revolutionary War.

We went next to Fort Macon State Park, near Atlantic Beach.  We had visited Fort Caswell, but Macon is in much better condition.  They were doing artillery demonstrations, so we saw two types of cannons fired, which was very cool and very loud.

Our last day was spend in Wilmington, NC.  We visited the USS North Carolina in the morning, and then drove to Carolina Beach State Park.  Our intention was to see Venus Fly Traps, which are native only in a 70 mile radius of Wilmington, but, despite walking the entire trail twice, we failed to find any.  It was a nice hike, though, all boggy and swampy and quite different from our typical mountain hikes.  You'll notice the recurring state park theme--we have a goal of visiting every state park in North Carolina.  Of the 35 parks (one is currently under construction), we have visited 14, so getting close to halfway there!

What I Ate:

This was my favorite breakfast this summer: Grape Nuts Fit cereal + blueberries + honey + kefir.  Kefir is something new for me--it is a fermented milk, kind of like yogurt, but with even more probiotics (which are bacteria!  but they are good for you!).  It is tangy, a bit like buttermilk or Greek yogurt.  With a bit of honey, it is delicious.

Kale and White Bean Stew.  The recipe is from the now obsolete Whole Living Magazine, although their online contents have been archived and are still accessible.  Kale is also something new for me.  In the stew, it wilts, though still a bit crunchy, and goes nicely with the tomatoes and beans.  We also had a kale slaw at a church dinner that was delicious and apparently came in a bagged kit from Costco--who knew!

Apple-Plum Skillet Cake.  This was a bit of an experiment.  We watched The American Baking Competition on CBS this summer (hosted by Jeff Foxworthy) and drooled every week over the amazing recipes.  There was one challenge that involved making a Tarte Tatin, which is baked in a skillet, but has a pie crust.  This is not tarte tatin (it's cake, not pie), but it was pretty tasty, nevertheless.  I adapted the recipe quite a bit from a Pioneer Woman recipe, and it came out pretty delicious, although it was a bit stressful--my only skillet is a tiny six-incher that I've had since undergrad (because you must be able to make cornbread in your college apartment!)  I really need to upgrade to a bigger skillet--maybe then I wouldn't have such as issue with batter run-over.

Here is a combo "What I Made" and "What I Ate."  Except I actually didn't get to eat any of this!  It is Banana Bread, using my mom's recipe.  We were asked over for dinner by several lovely friends this summer, and since I don't like going empty-handed, I made Banana Bread.  This recipe is very easy and simple, but it makes the moistest, tastiest bread.  I prefer it with walnuts or pecans, but I usually leave them out when baking for others.

The quilt top is for Baby Womick.  I have, by this point, moved on to actually quilting.  I am quilting by hand around the perimeter of the strips, and boy, does it take a while!  This is my first quilt, and it is not perfect (you can definitely see that the corners don't match up), but it will definitely be cozy and warm.

Other summer stuff has involved lots of reading: I finished the Chronicles of Prydain series (which I started in 6th grade, but somehow never got around to the last two books!), as well as lots of books on parenting, childbirth, baby sleep, nursing, and raising boys.  But, like the doctor said, most babies haven't read the books, so he may not behave just like we expect.  He'll be his own person, and I just can't wait to see what that means!

We've also spent lots of time with the family, going to church and choir practice, running (including a 5k on Tuesday), and, of course, working--even in summer, there are classes to be taught, lesson plans to be made.  But, I do enjoy summer's laid-back pace.  However, I'm also excited for a brisk and busy fall--good things ahead!

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