The Summer That Was

In honor of my #1 blog fan, who asks about the blog every time we speak (even though my posts are becoming few and far between)…a post! Happy birthday, dad! This is for you:)


Wheew. We have had a whirlwind of a summer and fall is quickly running away from us as well. I’m not even sure where to begin, but I won’t attempt to recap it all here.

Early this summer we took a day trip to NYC.

Back in Rhode Island we enjoyed our first (and second and third) polo match.

We spent our fair share of time on the New England coast. This particular photo was taken in Portsmouth, NH. I think we’d call it one of New England’s best kept secrets. Charming downtown, walkable, beautiful old buildings and it’s right on the water.

We (technically Andrew) consumed our fair share of seafood, much of which was prepared on the grill. Andrew loved grilling.

Andrew and I rode our first tandem bike together, which we decided should be used for pre-martial counseling. It took 100% cooperation and communication to avoid disaster.

We also took a quick trip to the City of Brotherly Love. This is Elfreth's Alley.

I realize a few pictures won’t make up for a summer’s long absence, but it’s been much harder to catch back up than we anticipated.

Although the summer’s warmth has left us for the imminent cold, we have much to look forward to this fall and winter. We’re excited to slow down, relax a bit, enjoy some warm beverages, and hibernate. 

Happy Birthday, Dad. I hope to update this more regularly and more thoroughly soon. Promise! Love you!


Zoo Day | 2011

Andrew and I read a blog earlier in the summer about Top Tips for Taking Photos at the Zoo. We love excuses to practice our photography and learn more about our camera so we headed to our local zoo on a free-for-residents Saturday. We arrived when the zoo opened to try to get good morning light, but since it was a clear day the light was still pretty harsh. For this adventure, an overcast day with cloud cover would have provided the best light and minimal shadows, but since we were just practicing we didn’t mind.

Some of the tips we read were to zoom in close, focus on the eyes, turn off the automatic flash, and fill the frame with the subject.

One thing I wasn’t prepared for was sad eyes. I’m not sure if some animals just have naturally sad facial expressions or if they are under-stimulated in captivity, but I sure felt bad for some of them. It’s amazing how different zoos, circuses, etc. are as an adult than as a kid. As a kid it’s cool to see the animals up close. As an adult I wanted to see them frolicking in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

But without further ado here are the animals of Roger Williams Park Zoo:



















What we’ve been up to

Sorry we’ve been so quiet lately. We have been unintentionally unplugged and and to be honest, it has been kind of nice. Less time behind the computer screen and more time grilling out, watching Friends, going to the beach, jogging, entertaining visitors, etc.  Sort of just getting done what needs to get done and then relaxing until bedtime. Most weekends I can’t seem to get any posts written, any pictures downloaded from my camera, or any blogs read, but the laundry gets done, dinner gets cooked, trips to the beach are had, and I'm becoming okay with that—especially since summer up here is so short.

We apologize for keeping everyone in the dark for so long; here’s a little summary of life lately.

Lately we have been… 












Note—We learned a very harsh lesson about bringing compost into the house. We tried to learn from last year and start our seeds earlier in the year. Unfortunately, us rookies didn’t think through bringing compost soil into our apartment.

We went through phases of insect hatching. First, there was the round of gnat-like bugs. Dozens if not hundreds of them. The vacuum and I became quite chummy. I had the vacuum out regularly and sucked them up morning and night. (I don’t do bugs).  It turned out to be great for the cleanliness of our floors though:)

Then there was round #2. Giant house flies. Less in number and more tolerable than the gnats. But still, I vacuumed them up. But then round #3 came. It was the last straw. Bees. Some type of flying stinging-looking insect. This was when I freaked out, panicked, and told Andrew “These plants are going outside today. I don’t care if there is still frost and we are throwing away two months of prep. Out.” And so they went.








That’s a quick summary. More to come later! No promises on timeliness—I’m still hoping to re-cap California;) And since then we’ve been to NYC, Philadelphia, and Maine. Not to mention parent visits, weddings, or future summer plans. Wheew. I just can’t keep up. In fact, tonight Andrew was basking in summer 2011 glory and telling me about how much he is enjoying it and we’re technically only a 5 days in. My first thought was: “We better document this! We haven’t taken many pictures this summer (aside from trips). We’re going to need some proof to carry us through winter!”


Hopefully this weekend…

I’ll finish uploading pictures from our recent trip to California.



Adorable Cookies

If Andrew and I were able, we would totally be having a Mardi Gras party to celebrate Fat Tuesday—the feast before the beginning of Lent. We thought in honor of our year of holidays it would be fun, but then realized we aren’t available Tuesday.

I saw some adorable ideas online, so in case you’re interested in carrying the torch, here is a tutorial to make some adorable cookies and some downloadable print outs for your party.

We would definitely be making the mask cookies, although I realize they wouldn’t be nearly as pretty. Decorating with icing is hard. We learned that lesson with our Christmas tree cookies. It’s okay though, we’ll just have to keep practicing:)

photo source


Soup Recipe

Andrew made some rockin' soup last week. The recipe looks a little crazy (evaporated milk, bbq sauce, etc.), but it turned out great. All the interesting ingredients came together to create a unique flavor and great consistency. It was the first soup we’ve ever made from scratch to have a thick and creamy consistency. It's usually difficult to produce thick soup at home, but this recipe nailed it! I think it had something to do with the evaporated milk, but I may be wrong.

We followed the recipe to the T with the exception of using a green pepper instead of a red one and we cooked chicken breasts instead of using a rotisserie chicken.

Smoky Roasted Chicken and Corn Chowder
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.

Source: Taste of Home Healthy Cooking Feb-March 2009 Issue


  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes, well drained
  • 1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream-style corn
  • 2 cups roasted chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon hickory flavored barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)



  1. Cook chopped bacon in a large, non-stick soup pot over medium-high heat until lightly browned but not crisp. Stir in onions, celery, red pepper, and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add thyme and flour. Mix well. Stir in broth and evaporated milk. Bring mixture to a gentle boil and stir continuously until soup thickens slightly.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.


The Year of the…

Back in January, Andrew and I were discussing our hopes, plans, and dreams for 2011.

Andrew said, “I want to read more this year. I want 2011 to be the year of the book!” And I said, “What? Read more? [Pause. Look at him funny.] Okay.” And with that the Year of the Book was born. Andrew’s goal is to read 10-12 books this year.

Me? I didn’t really have a goal. And I wasn’t interested in reading 10 books. But on Martin Luther King Day it dawned on me. As my Google Reader overflowed with MLK quotes and references to spending the day “on” and not “off”, I decided that I wanted to spend 2011 celebrating holidays with an awareness on their original intention. Holidays honor someone or something; I want to understand and appreciate that. I often spend these days eating hot dogs and playing Wiffle ball without regard to the significance of the day; without celebrating the purpose we were intended to celebrate. So in 2011 I want to focus a little of my attention on the dreams, the causes, and the fights that people gave their lives to. I want to be cognizant of the reasons why I get to sleep in and spend extra time with family and friends.

So throughout this year I’ll post recaps of what we did to celebrate holidays. Some will be more exciting than others. And I know that some holidays have varying traditions or have changed over time, so don’t judge us too harshly on the tribute that we pay.

And to honor the year of the book, Andrew will post reviews and recommendations of the books he’s read.

Nothing too exciting, but a little window into our life in 2011.


First up: President’s Day


This weekend for President’s Day we went to the JFK Library in Boston, MA. 



And then we drove past the birthplaces of former presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and George H.W. Bush. While the Adams were born in the same town (later named Quincy), Bush 41 was born a couple miles away in Milton, MA.IMG_67450

And we even tried to eat a few favorite presidential meals. Unfortunately, our detour to Ikea set us back a little and all that was open was Panera. But we didn’t let that stop us! Andrew had macaroni and cheese a favorite of Ronald Reagan and I had a grilled cheese, a favorite of FDR. Panera’s macaroni is amazing. The grilled cheese was pathetic. I think they generally make them for kids meals so it was terribly lame and cheeseless.

And we may or may not have watched the Presidential DVD series my mom gave Andrew two Christmases ago. And we may or may not have watched all three DVDs.

Happy President’s Day!