Not Much to Report

Comment 1 Standard

Well – the past weekend was not exactly a busy one – another weekend with not too much happening. I suppose that’s nice because the next two weekends on the calendar are full of travel and adventure and it’s nice to have down time here and there along the way.

Friday night was dinner out, perusing Hobby Lobby for a bit and then returning home to do a lot of nothing. I watched some episodes of The Mindy Project and Escape to the Country…but nothing too thrilling to report.

Saturday after having waffles and coffee, I got myself together and did some tidying up…but I honestly did a whole lot of nothing until it was time to head to the theater to see Beauty & the Beast at 2:00. I met my parents at Home Goods after the movie ended and then we picked up the supplies for chili and rotel, went home and cooked it up and enjoyed a filling meal while watching college football. MSU won – which is always grand.

Sunday morning was sinus struggles and heading to church. After watching the weather all weekend, we decided that we’d be okay to grill out on Sunday night for the friends coming over for dinner and so we grabbed the items needed to grill from Wal-Mart after lunch.

We went to an open house across the street from our house and I watched some Nationals baseball and took a short nap before getting ready for our guests. Family friends came over with their sweet (and sometimes wild) kiddos and we were able to have dinner out on the deck with a gentle breeze and blue skies!

Once dinner was over, we packed everything on the deck back under cover as dark clouds started to encroach and headed indoors to be entertained by the antics of Amelia and Evelyn – the two smallest of the bunch. My parents gave Evelyn a pink coat and it immediately became such a hit that she proceeded to parade around the house taking it on and off, grinning and prancing… she won’t be two until March, but she’s full of personality.

Amazingly Watson stayed upstairs for all the visiting – he usually vacates to the downstairs but he must have found some inner courage. He even let the girls play with him and his stuffed porg for a bit – he’s so good with little kids. After everyone left, I hopped in the shower and then just chilled out for a bit before hitting the sack.

Like I said – not a busy weekend – but a good weekend all the same.

Five on Friday

Leave a comment Standard

It has been cloudy for over a week now… it has rained at some point every day for the past eight days… and the hurricane that is currently battering North Carolina will also bring Northern Virginia some rain over the weekend and into the early week. Will we ever see the sun again?

While I debate weather patterns – here are five other things taking up space in my mind on this gloomy Friday.

Flora Boom

One. Paint Night – I am in a women’s Bible study group in my neighborhood and on Tuesday night we did a paint night and it was so much fun! It’s been so much fun to make friends in the neighborhood and even more fun to continue to grow those relationships – especially doing something like gathering around a table, sharing food and drink and attempting our best Autumn tree!

The painting was pretty easy to do – I am liking mine a little more each day, ha-ha! If you live in the Northern Virginia area and you’re looking to do a paint party, we did ours at The Studio – A Place for Learning and Kelly was a wonderful teacher!

Two. Gorgeous Views – Wednesday night my ladies group from church (different from the above group, ha-ha) had our weekly meeting at one of the ladies’ family cabin and the views were absolutely stunning! The cabin is situated on a ridge with a view of the valley below… it’s just breathtaking!

I’d love to get a chance to visit the cabin again, especially when the sun is shining over the mountain peaks in the distance! *sigh* I do love the mountains and a good cabin!

Three. All Things Pampering – Perfectly Posh released even more Autumn pampering goodies yesterday: a Fizi (bath bomb) set with three wonderful Autumn scents to make your bath even more luxurious and two Vial (long lasting lip stain) shades, In the Dark and Leaf Me Alone!

 

As of today, there is also a BOGO deal on Fizi 6-packs! When you purchase two 6-packs of Fizi’s (bath bombs), one of them will be free! There is no code required, you just place two in the cart and one is free! The Autumn posh and the BOGO deal are both limited, so if you’d like to try anything – http://NatalieSummerlin.po.sh is the place to check it out!

Four. Beauty & the Beast – Well y’all know this is my very favorite movie..I love the animated and live action versions equally and Disney is re-releasing the live action version in theaters this weekend and you can bet I got myself a ticket!

Related image

I definitely saw the live action in theaters more than once (or twice) when it came out last March, I own the Deluxe Edition of the movie…but I would never turn down a chance to see it on the big screen again! So on Saturday afternoon, you can find me snacking on some gummy bears and falling in love with it all over again. *sigh*

Five. Hurricane Florence – Oh hurricane Florence! Earlier in the week it was looking like she might be more of a threat here in Northern Virginia but then she spun it in a different direction and so all we will likely see is a bit of rain and some breezes…

Image result for hurricane florence meme

It’s pretty unsettling to see the damage being done in the Carolinas and if you are in the path of Florence or had to evacuate so you wouldn’t be in the middle of it – thoughts and prayers go out to you!

*********************************************

That’s all I’ve got for this Friday and the start of this weekend! I hope everyone enjoys their weekend…see y’all on Monday!

Soup-er Duper

Leave a comment Standard

This past weekend was much cooler (it went from 92 to 68 in less than 2 hours on Friday night…) and it rained all weekend long! It was just one of those cool, dreary weekends that calls for curling up on the couch with a book, a good TV show and a bowl of soup! I tried two soups out and one was a winner for me and the other – it wasn’t a “loser” but it just didn’t strike my fancy.

I thought I’d share the recipes with you today – the weather here in Northern Virginia hasn’t changed much since the weekend, it’s still cool and dreary. Perhaps you’ll find a new favorite between these two – I certainly did!

What You Need

  • 2 can white meat chicken; drained
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion; diced
  • 4 red potatoes; sliced
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 10 3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 Ranch dressing packet mix
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 8 oz. vegetable broth
  • 5 slices bacon; cooked & crumbled

What To Do

  • Melt the butter on the bottom of the crock pot. Add all the vegetables on top of butter and stir to coat with the butter.
  • Add salt and pepper to chicken if desires and add to the crock pot.
  • Mix together the cream of chicken soup, milk, sour cream and Ranch dressing mixture until well blended. Temper the mixture by heating in the microwave for 40 seconds (to keep the milk from curdling). Pour on top of the chicken and vegetables.
  • Add in 8 ounces vegetable broth and crumbled bacon.
  • Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours – low and slow is best with milk and dairy products.
  • Garnish with crumbled bacon…extra parsley…cheese… whatever suits you and enjoy!

This stew was a huge winner in my eyes – it was thick and had a warm, comforting and flavorful taste! It will be perfect as the weather gets cooler. It’s filling and delicious! I’d say give this one a try – but I’d recommend that if you’re making it for more than two people, you’ll probably want to double the recipe!

What You Need

  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 1 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 1 28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 10.75 oz. cans of tomato soup
  • 2 8 oz. containers of chive & onion cream cheese spread; softened
  • 1 18 oz. package refrigerated cheese tortellini

What To Do

  • In a skillet, cook the Italian sausage until browned and no longer pink. Transfer cooked sausage to the slow cooker.
  • Add chicken broth, tomatoes and tomato soup to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Stir in cream cheese and tortellini. Cover and cook on high for 15-30 minutes until tortellini is cooked.

What you might notice about my recipe – I completely excluded the Italian sausage – I do not love Italian sausage even a little bit, so I left it out. I’d like to think that it might make a big difference here…but I’m not sure. The taste was good… I added in some oregano and basil while the soup was cooking and it had a good tomato flavor that paired really well with the tortellini.

I suppose what I’m saying is – this one is definitely worth giving a shot. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it and I know full well the people I’d be making it for wouldn’t eat it. So it probably won’t be added to the rotation…but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a favorite for you!

Water Water Everywhere

Leave a comment Standard

I did a whole lot of nothing over the weekend and yet somehow managed to take a ton of pictures. I’m not really sure how that happened either, but here I am – on a drizzly Monday afternoon, with something like a jaw/tooth ache and a slight headache…but here nonetheless to “recap” my weekend.

img_6680

Friday evening…after relaxing at home for about two hours (work ended early – all the praise hands), I headed to Target to get some things I needed for weekend cooking…and about 3 minutes into the drive – all hell broke loose in the skies above. The rain that had been threatening for hours arrived in an absolute deluge, with punishing wind, lightning so bright it was practically blinding and thunder that rattled the windows. The storm only lasted about 10 minutes but I arrived home from Target to find the deck furniture cover blown off, an end table blown across the deck, the propane heater’s cover ripped and the roses looking fairly battered. Sheesh.

The rest of the evening involved some pizza, some binge-watching of The Mindy Project and a lot of begging from a certain wee dog. He just cannot handle thinking that anyone might eat something and he won’t get to taste a sample!

The forecast for this weekend was rain…and then more rain, with a side of rain. It was originally forecast to rain all day Saturday and Sunday but blessedly, Saturday dawned overcast and cool – but not yet rainy. I made some divine pumpkin spice rolls for breakfast…

img_6693

…And I decided that while it wasn’t raining, I might as well load up Watson in the car and take him to explore the Arboretum for a while. I wasn’t sure what to expect in so far as things being in bloom – late Summer/early Fall seems like an iffy time for plants – but I was pretty surprised by how many things were still bright and in bloom!

The weather was cool enough that it warranted a coat – and I was doubly thankful for that coat when it started sprinkling just about thirty minutes into our explorations. Watson seemed wholly unconcerned that water was beginning to fall rather rapidly on our heads…we were quite a ways from the front of the Arboretum and the car, but he couldn’t have been bothered by any of it. He was thrilled to be outside and wanted to stay outside – rain be darned.

We made our way back toward the exit – me with my hood up, coat zipped and making every effort to stay under the low hanging branches of trees to not get drenched…which worked fairly well except for when Watson would race ahead and yank me along with him, determined to sniff something else. He’d look back at me like I was insane – why was I walking so slowly and creeping under the branches? It was obvious he thought I was insane…

We hopped back in the car and I humored him by making the three mile scenic loop, which he rode through with his nose pressed against the window…watching the rain fall harder and harder. By the time we’d made it out of the Arboretum and to the red light near the house, the look on his face was clear enough – I didn’t need to speak “pup” to know he was thoroughly disgruntled by having to leave his exploration because of something like rain…

img_6718

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening doing a lot of nothing… just being a bum. I tried out a new recipe in the crock pot, read chapters and chapters of The Drums of Autumn, watched too many episodes of The Mindy Project, re-watched Julie & Julia and took a nice long bubble bath. It was a lovely, bummy Saturday afternoon. Watson and I also took a few walks around the neighborhood as the temperature dropped and thankfully the rain didn’t really begin in earnest until after 8:00. Naturally – Watson begged for some chicken stew when I had dinner…

img_6724

Sunday morning I woke up to rain – and it proceeded to rain all day long! It wasn’t just drizzle on Sunday either, it was a constant, steady downpour that left everything saturated. I made my way to church and was all too thankful for the little fellow at the door handing out umbrella bags.. After church I went to lunch with my friend Jennie and her son Jimmy and then popped into Old Navy to snag a couple tunic style tanks on sale before heading home.

I passed the afternoon and evening doing some laundry, cleaning my bathroom, trying another soup recipe (this one was not as good… *sigh*), watching even more of The Mindy Project and just generally being lazy. Watson and I took very few walks because it steadily rained all day long – making Watson almost stir crazy. He’d get very excited to go outside and then head out the door, realize it was pouring and just sigh. Poor little guy.

If last weekend was filled with all the activities, this weekend was filled with no activities. I can never quite decide which type of weekend passes faster: the weekend with all the plans or the weekend with no plans, but both are nice to have from time to time. It’s also nice to have rain from time to time…but after two days straight, I’d be content with that going ahead and moving out of the way…

Five on Friday

Leave a comment Standard

The most wonderful day of the week – am I right? Okay…maybe that title really goes to Saturday but there’s no need to get nit-picky. If a day of the week is also part of the weekend, it’s always winning.

Flora Boom

So – five things on my mind as this weekend starts…

One. Corn & Bacon Pasta – This recipe was in a recent edition of Women’s Day and it immediately caught my eye. I only started eating corn about a year ago (I know – what a weirdo, right?) and I’m a big lover of all things pasta, so this recipe seemed a little random but also incredibly tempting. So I made it. And well – it was fabulous! I tweaked it just a bit but I wanted to share the recipe below… if you love corn and pasta and bacon, you will just lap this stuff up!

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • salt & pepper
  • 6 ears of corn, shucked
  • 8 ounces of pasta (your choice)
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese (I used Monterrey Jack)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. basil

Now – I’ll be real with you – I did not use 6 ears of corn that had been shucked. I used one can of White Shoepeg Corn, heated on the stove with 1/2 cup of real bacon bits (as opposed to 4 slices of bacon). I cooked the pasta according to the package directions and then held 1/2 cup of pasta water in reserve.

Transfer the cooked corn & bacon, the 1/2 cup of pasta water, salt, pepper, onion powder, basil and 1/3 cup of cheese to a blender & puree until smooth. Toss the pasta with the corn sauce and top with additional bacon pieces and cheese and devour! Y’all – this was so delicious and good – the sweetness of the corn, the smokiness of the bacon – I ate half of it for dinner and reheated the rest for lunch the next day! So divine!

Two. Perfectly Pumpkin Pampering – Perfectly Posh launched their Autumn/Spooky pampering products yesterday and they are made with fermented pumpkin…which I suppose might sound a little strange, but there are so many benefits to using fermented pumpkin in skincare! The products released yesterday were a body creme and a jelly shot face mask – both with a wonderful pumpkin scent that is perfect for Fall. You can get yours (limited release) at http://NatalieSummerlin.po.sh and I’ve shared some benefits of fermented pumpkin below!

  • Provides intense moisture
  • Helps minimize the size of pores
  • Reduces signs of aging while being gentle on skin
  • Full of fruit enzymes & Alpha Hydroxy acids, both powerful in increasing cell turnover
  • Contains vitamins A & C to boost collagen production
  • Increased levels of antioxidants which fight off free radicals, repair elasticity, ease inflammation, reduce breakouts & improve skin texture.

*The It’s A Fall World After All bath bombs will be released next week!

Three. Autumn is Making an Effort – It has been oppressively warm this week in Northern Virginia…much too warm for any area of the country that has Northern in the name and much too warm for September. *sigh* However, I stumbled upon a tree in the neighborhood yesterday that is really going above and beyond in the fall foliage category and is already almost completely turned – while all the other trees in the neighborhood are still green! Oh well, at least this tree is trying…

Four. Weekend Plans – They are actually fairly nonexistent! I had contemplated going to a Fall Open House at a nearby Orchard on Saturday and of course, I’ll go to church on Sunday and I’d thought about doing outdoor things because the weather was supposed to be much cooler…  Then I checked the weather forecast and well – there is an 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms today. There is a 90% chance of rain and thunderstorms tomorrow… and there is a 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms on Sunday. I’m thinking the Open House may be a no-go… and while church will still be on the docket, I’m not sure rain and outdoor activities are a good combination. So having said that…

Image result for autumn rain

Five. Binge Watching – It’s been a spell since I binged something… I just started watching The Mindy Project on Hulu and I do love it, but I also just don’t know that I can sit on the couch and watch multiple hours of one thing. I don’t know. I cannot binge the way I did when I was in college – I feel lazy and useless, ha-ha!

Related image

Having said that – if I feel the need to take a break from all things Mindy and Danny (I’m 100% here for that already…), does anyone have another show or movie that is worth checking out? I have Amazon Prime (HBO & Starz), Netflix and Hulu – so I feel like the possibilities might be endless…

**********************************************

Well – that’s all I’ve got for this Friday. Perhaps when I pop back in on Monday, I’ll have had adventures I didn’t know I was up for… or perhaps I’ll have watched way too many episodes of The Mindy Project. Either way – onward to the weekend!