Carried Away by Summer

Do you ever feel like you get carried away in the summertime?  Maybe you get carried away by being out in the sun too long and regaining those freckles that were hidden during the winter.  Maybe you get carried away with produce from your garden.  Perhaps you get carried away with your grill and only want food if it is has those nice parallel grill marks on it.  And it could be that you literally get carried away.

That’s what’s happened to me this summer.  Maybe you noticed that already, though, due to my absence on the blog.  I’ve been back for a week now, from my trip to visit family in Michigan.  It was a fantastic 2 weeks away with my family.  I spent several days in Ann Arbor, visiting with Ben, Heather, and this little cutie:

Eleanor

Eleanor

Considering she hadn’t seen me since she was 7 months old, I think we got along swimmingly. 🙂

Amy and Ellie

Amy and Ellie

She also really liked anything that was in my room.  In this case, my socks and flip flops. 🙂

Nom nom nom.

Nom nom nom.

We didn’t have a lot on our agenda in Ann Arbor.  Mostly I was there to see what Ben and Heather’s life is like with Eleanor, and to spend some time with my niece.  And she is quite the cutie.  She’s so close to talking, but for now just makes the cutest noises.  If you look at her mouth, she’s definitely “talking” in this photo.  I think her words were, “Bupedupedupedupe…” 🙂

IMGP0778

The second part of my trip was spent in Holland.  The bulk of my visit was at Katy and JP’s house, so I could spend some time with this little darling:

Leila

Leila

Even though I was pretty enraptured by Leila,

Reading with Leila

and she, with me,

holding hands with Amy Chithi in the car

holding hands with Amy Chithi in the car

I managed to fit in a visit to Captain Sundaes while I was there.

Captain Sundae's

I also took my parents out to eat at Boatwerks as a celebration dinner for their 60th birthdays.

Boatwerks

And I also was able to visit with several college friends.  One of the perks was that Katy did a BeautiControl Spa for us one night.  Ahhhh….

Spahhhh!

Spahhhh!

If you don’t already know this, when Katy and I are together, we spend almost every possible moment planning our meals and snacks, shopping for our required ingredients, making our edible creations, and enjoying what we’ve made.  Here’s a sampling of a few of our meals and treats:

Peanut Butter Cup cookies

Peanut Butter Cup cookies

Chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies

Shrimp Pekoras

Shrimp Pekoras

Veggies for the curry

Veggies for the curry

Eggplant, Cauliflower, Potato, and Green Bean Curry with Cilantro Rice

Eggplant, Cauliflower, Potato, and Green Bean Curry with Cilantro Rice

Blueberries

Blueberries

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Jam Sandwich Cookies

Blueberry Jam Sandwich Cookies

Want to know a fun fact about that picture of the blueberries, and the blueberry treats we made??  Katy and I hand-picked them!!

Blueberry Picking

Blueberry Picking

So….so far, my summer has carried me away to a fantastic time spent with family and friends in Michigan.

When I got back home, I found out our tomato plants got a little carried away with their growing!  But don’t worry, I did a little maintenance on them. 🙂

Before

Before

After

After

Also, the summer heat got a little carried away in Seattle.  We hit an all-time record high in the history of Seattle’s summer weather: 103 degrees.

Next on the docket?  Getting carried away to San Diego next week for vacation and an anniversary trip to San Diego.  Check our our hotel!  Didn’t we find a cool place to stay?!?!

If you have a moment, maybe you could respond with a comment about what you have gotten carried away with this summer.

Simple Sangria Recipe and other summer updates

My sister, Katy, requested the recipe for my “famous sangria”.  Get ready Kate – this is complicated!

Amy’s “Famous” Sangria

1) Fill a glass with ice.

2) Slice up some of your favorite fruits into the glass.  (Some of my favorites: strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, peaches.)

3) Pour Carlo Rossi Sangria Wine over the ice and fruit.

4) Enjoy.  🙂

That’s it!  It’s so simple!  I know there are lots of complicated recipes out there that involve muddling and adding brandy and simple syrups, but I’ve found that this simple sangria recipe is the tastiest because you come by it with such great ease.  As far as the fruit goes, you can get as creative as you want.  I could picture doing a more tropical mix with starfruit, kiwi, mango, and pineapple.  You can use apples or citrus or berries.  It’s totally your call.

If I’m serving Sangria for a party, I like to pour the wine into a pitcher or jug that has a spigot and put some fruit in the Sangria to marinate including some pretty orange (and/or other citrus) slices floating at the top.   Then, I leave a bowl of fruit out beside the pitcher along with an ice bucket so guests can add how ever much  – or little – fruit and ice they desire.

There are also some fantastic white wine sangria recipes out there.  In fact, we served one at our wedding that was pretty simple.  It includes your choice white wine, a lemon-lime soda and pretty fruits.  For the white wine sangria, I’d be more inclined to stick with berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries.

I wish I had a picture of my famous concoction for the blog!  Hopefully we’ll have at least one more backyard barbeque at our house this summer so I can capture it for you.  We certainly have enough Sangria to host another party! (Those jugs are pretty big!)  It’s just the date options that are becoming more and more limited…

I am leaving tonight on a red-eye to MI to spend 2 1/2 weeks with my family.  The first part of my trip will be in Ann Arbor at my brother, Ben, and sister-in-law, Heather’s house.  Let’s be real though – I’m mostly there to hang out with my one year old niece, Eleanor.  I hear she’s pretty adorable these days and really fun to play with.  🙂

Then, partway through the trip, my brother and parents will help transport me to Holland by each driving me halfway.  (By the way, my parents are closing on their house in Glen Lake this week and moving down to Holland while I’m in Ann Arbor.  So, I’ll get to see their temporary digs while I’m in Holland.)  The the majority of my Holland trip I’ll be hanging out with my other 9 month old niece, Leila, at my sister, Katy, and brother-in-law, JP’s house.  It’s going to be a fantastic time of being with family and getting to know the newest members of the family better.   I also hope to see some college friends while I’m there, too.

It’ll be strange to be gone from Kyle for so long, though.  He’s not able to take the time off of work to go with me.  We looked at the price of tickets for him to come for part of the time, but it was almost twice as expensive as my ticket, so…he’ll just have to hold out until Thanksgiving when the Wings gather again.

Kyle took me out on a surprise date last night since we’ll be away for so long.  It was really fun to be in the car trying to guess where we’d end up!  Every turn he took made me keep changing my guess as to where we’d end up.  It turned out to be a place we had never been to before, but had heard it highly praised.  We went to Marcello’s.  It’s always a date when we go out to Italian because it’s not really Kyle’s first pick.  Although, he did go out on a limb last night and claim that his dish was the best pasta he had ever had in his entire life!!  (He had the Ravioli Crema and I had the Penne Sicilia.)  We had wine and got an appetizer.  Per Kyle’s suggestion (after reading reviews) we ordered the Bruschetta.  When it came, it was COVERED in piles of diced tomatoes, soI thought I’d have to eat the whole starter myself.  BUT – Kyle even like the tomatoes there!!!  It was clearly a hit and such a treat for me to go out to Italian.

We also decided that it was so fun to have a surprise date night and I liked to be the one being surprised and Kyle liked the one to choose the surprise so much that we are going to do this once a month.

Next month?  We’ll be in San Diego celebrating our anniversary so it’ll be a new place for both of us.  🙂

This has turned out to be much longer than I anticipated and now I should really get going.  There is packing to be done and last minute honey-do lists to write for Kyle. 🙂  See you soon family!