Let’s Do the Time Warp – September

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The Time Warp has come around again…so here we are, warping back to the many Septembers past.

September 2015

A Thursday night Nats game – you bet!
Also a Thursday night Nationals Curly W!
Rapidan Camp with two of my favorite little people.
The “sweetest” place on Earth – Hershey, PA!
Can you imagine a Reese’s that was actually that big?
Friday night baseball in the District!
Another Curly W for the Nationals!
Just continuing my love affair with our nation’s capital.
Closing out the 2015 season….
This Year: I guess the real question is what didn’t I do this month? Three Nationals games interspersed between camping for the first time (not sure about that…), spending the weekend in Hershey, PA and spending the weekend in DC. This past month has been a whirlwind but it’s also filled with awesome memories.

September 2014
The Virginia Museum of the Civil War
The Bicentennial of the Star Spangled Banner
Cuddling this sweet little nugget – so glad I finally got to meet her!
Pulling a little apple picker through the orchard…
So glad to see this sweet friend (and her sweet family) again!
One Year Ago: I explored the Virginia Museum of the Civil War…which was mostly interesting…and spent the day in Baltimore to celebrate the bicentennial of the Star Spangled Banner. The month ended on a decidedly awesome note – one of my best friends and her sweet family spent almost four days with us and we showed them all around our little slice of Virginia!

September 2013

Family hugs at the airport in Jackson!
Making funny faces with my sweet Ruby Kate & Graham!
Cruising on a golf cart at the golf shoot out….
Sonic run w/David en route to a wedding in the swamp…hehehe!
With the beautiful bride Lisa at her gorgeous wedding!
Two Years Ago: It seems my Septembers for the past few years have always been busy; two years ago was no exception! The month started with family in town…unfortunately because of the passing of my Pops (history can repeat…late August this year was quite similar to early September two years ago). I spent my Sundays loving on sweet babies in the nursery, I cruised all over the golf course with my friend Melissa for a work event and rounded out the month watching one of my sweet friends get married!

September 2012

Family photo opportunity in the Springs!
Olympic hopefuls for 2012?
Yet another family hug – love these guys!
Look at that little face – begging, no doubt.
Three Years Ago: September of 2012 starts the trend of early Septembers spent in Colorado Springs; I guess 2012 was really the end of that trend, but since we’re moving backwards in time…it’s the start, ha-ha! Loving on Lindsey in Colorado Springs seems to really be the theme and sole adventure for three years ago, but I couldn’t resist throwing in a shot of Watson!
September 2011

What’s that, yes – another picture in Colorado Springs!
Hiking in & around the Rockies – hiking in flip-flops = bad idea!
Our man Reginald in Divide Colorado – he’s a miner!
Gorgeous Colorado views – breathtaking!
Four Years Ago: Colorado Springs! I told you, this will be a theme! And it looks like it’s pretty much the only thing that was really going on for me in September of 2011. This trip to the Springs involved staying in a cabin and I decided I’d hike in flip-flops….never a good idea. I don’t suppose that’s surprising; besides my trip to Colorado Springs I’m certain I kept busy working and just generally living life.
September 2010

Lindsey explains some classwork – & I pretend to understand, ha-ha!

Saying adios for Parents Weekend 2010!
Posing with one of our (two) favorite Jr. Misses – Kristen at her Homecoming!
Five Years Ago: Say it with me now….Colorado Springs! We followed Lindsey around to her classes and I pretended to understand what they were talking about…ha-ha! I’m sure there was plenty of eating out and I know there was a football game in there too! We ended the month at Enterprise’s homecoming to cheer on one of our favorite Jr. Misses…Kristen!

September 2009

Hugs (and tears) after being apart for almost 3 months!
Hey – I can stand at attention too!
The start of our Septembers spent in Colorado Springs!
Six Years Ago: The first visit to Colorado Springs to visit Lindsey and the start of an (almost) five year tradition. This trip would lead to many more and by the time Lindsey’s tenure at the Academy was over…I could probably tell you where to find this or that in the Springs. Six years ago I was still in college (what???) but I guess I wasn’t doing anything photo worthy…

September 2008

West Lauderdale football with the big Senior…Lindsey.
Imitating the USM football players…& trying not to crack up.
Enjoying college football with a sweet friend.
Seven Years Ago: I started school at Southern Miss and began making friends there that I still have to this day (you know who you are)! I increased the amount of black and gold clothing in my wardrobe pretty significantly, learned all about the Nasty Bunch (the defensive line) and discovered that living with three other people can sometimes be very trying. Ha-ha! 
September 2007

No Swimming – that seems…ironic…
Eight Years Ago: Yep – this is the only picture I could find from 2007. That’s it. I’m standing where Okattibbee Lake used to come up to. Apparently there was a lot less rain than usual in 2007 and when the Corps hosted their annual Keep America Beautiful day, the no swimming sign proved ironic. 
September 2006

Home from MSU for the weekend & bound for a high school football game.
Just taking a selfie (before that was a word…) with the little sister.
Yeah – apparently I excelled at selfies long before they were a thing.
Nine Years Ago: I was a student at Mississippi State; the Fall of 2006 would be the only semester I attended my beloved MSU, just because you’re raised cheering for State doesn’t mean it’s the place  you need to go to college. I learned pretty quickly that it wasn’t really the right fit for me and did my best to enjoy my weekends at home. Life lesson learned.
And that’s all she wrote folks – I could only go back nine years on this one! I’m not sure what all I was up to before that but I know it was plenty…apparently just not plenty of things I kept documented with pictures! Granted, this was before the age of the cell phone and the selfie…so that probably explains a lot! 
Until next month – don’t get too warped!

Autumn Arrival

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Oh what a week…what a week indeed. I’ll be honest, I’m distracted today and for a completely crazy reason. I was at the Nationals game yesterday when Dugout Brawl 2015 happened and my phone has been going nuts all afternoon courtesy of Twitter and the numerous outlets reporting all that is happening in the wake of that.

Every time is buzzes, I have to see what’s up. It’s sad but true – I need to know what’s going down with my team. Alas, Sunday was only one day this past week…and I’ve just realized that Sunday technically starts a week but I always tag Sunday on the end of my week(s)….so I guess I’m rolling this a little backward. Oh well, that’s how I’m going to keep rolling, ha-ha!

Autumn officially arrives at Creekside when the corn stalks come out…

Shoes were on sale at Target for $15 – I figured, why not?

I honestly feel like I don’t remember last week being too memorable – which might be why I can’t think of a single thing to tell you about. I might also not be able to think of a single thing to tell you about because I’m typing this while simultaneously trying to “watch” Game Day on my computer and field phone calls…so, distraction…it’s definitely a factor here. Last week was a pretty typical work week, nothing too crazy going on and I suppose I was in beast mode on the walking because I made it 2 miles every day – pretty pleased with myself on that one.

Tuesday evening deck chilling…while supper cooked, of course.

Wednesday AM – I feel like there are mountains out there somewhere…but…where?

I feel like Autumn is really starting to arrive with a vengeance around here – and I’m pretty pleased. I; like most every other human on the planet, am getting a little tired of all the hot weather. I’m sure in six months I’ll be on this very same blog opining the horrors of cold weather and just wishing for the sunshine and heat…but isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? Also, to that fact, I really think I’m more of a cool weather girl anyway – I feel like you really can’t beat a good pair of jeans, a cute pair of boots and a sweater/scarf combo any day – and I’m about to get to wear that combo a lot more often! It’s also a whole lot easier to walk every afternoon when it’s not feeling like it’s a million degrees out…

Come to the Dark Side – we have creamer. Hehehe…

Fall leaves & loafers & blue jeans…it’s all so lovely.

A gorgeous start to Thursday….

And an equally gorgeous end to Thursday….

As usual, the weekend was where a large part of my “action” happened. Friday night was the first Friday night in at least three weeks that I had no plans, but apparently I’ve conditioned myself to live large and always be doing something because by 7:45, I just couldn’t sit still and I managed to finagle my Mom into going to Target with me. Somehow I managed to spend over thirty minutes in Target and not buy a single thing – I don’t even begin to know how that happened. I did get myself a Toasted Graham Latte that was absolutely delicious and I pushed the button on almost every single Halloween decoration because deep inside, I’m only about 5 and those buttons just call my name… I also tried on a Darth Vader mask and pushed the buttons on every single light saber…because seriously, 5 years old on the inside.

Misadventures on a Friday night in Target…

I found some Throwback Thursday material…on Saturday….& shared it anyway.

Saturday morning was fairly lazy…although I did get in a 1.3 mile walk, so I feel like I can deduct some sloth points for that right there. I met up with my friends Danielle and Meridith on Saturday afternoon so we could spend the evening in Harpers Ferry, WV…doing things like dining on farm to table cuisine and taking a ghost tour of the town. The town of Harpers Ferry has been around since 1763 and was the site of the US Armory during the Civil War; John Brown raided the town in October of 1859 and the town changed hands eight times during the Civil War…proving to be pretty disastrous for the town. So, you can imagine there are plenty of tales to raise the hair on the back of your neck and make you look into the darkness just a little closer…

I think this man might be a Nationals fan…especially if your name is Ian Desmond.

Supper at the Canal House with Danielle & Meridith (she’s taking the picture).

A ghost tour selfie…& some other shots from around town.

Sunday started a little earlier but not brighter…because man, it was crazy overcast! I left the house around 9:45 to get to the Metro, meet up with my friend Rachel and head for Nationals Park for the “last” home game of the season. I put last in quotations because they have a make-up game today against the Cincinnati Reds but everyone counted Sunday as the end of the home show. The traffic (going and coming) was mercifully not crazy and for the most part the Metro wasn’t too nuts. After having lunch at the Red Porch, we hopped into our seats and hoped for a really good game.

Alright Nationals…I’m with you till the bitter end….seriously…

It was SO windy – my hair…

The game started off spectacular enough but we couldn’t hang on to the lead and much like the weather, the game just sort of devolved as the innings passed… The team store was having a sale on apparel because; again, last home game of the season and I grabbed a pullover for myself, which I ended up wearing halfway through the game when clouds rolled in and the breeze off the Anacostia was crazy chilly! If you read the news at all, you’ll know that the game really took a dive when our relief pitcher attacked our star player (really though – you all know Bryce Harper is amazing…and not just because he’s pretty to look at) and Rachel and I decided that when a brawl breaks out in the dugout, it’s time to walk to the ice cream store…ha-ha. Till 2016 my Nationals…till 2016.

Crazy weather? Check! Crazy game? Check! Crazy players? Double check!

Of all the things you’d expect to see on the DC waterfront…hey, at least those Bulldogs won!

So – my week and weekend in speedy review. It was a whirlwind to be sure and I feel like last week just started…and now it’s over, done and in the books. Can you believe October will be here in 2 days? I can’t! I feel like the next few months will be like the last few weeks – a blur. I guess I’ll buckle in and get ready for the ride!

Sunday Dinner – Baked Spaghetti

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Well…it’s another pasta dish! Granted, this one does have some meat in it, so there’s at least that going for it, right? Also, the meat in it isn’t chicken so I really think we’re batting a thousand on this one. I have no complaints…and I guess the folks that ate it didn’t have complaints either…they both ate two helpings.

All the things…in the dish…
Keeping cooking priorities straight – always have wine on hand…

What You Need

– 16 ounces thin spaghetti
– 1 lb. ground beef (you can also use Italian sausage)
– 24 ounces jar of marinara sauce
– 2 eggs
– 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
– 5 tbsp. butter, melted
– 15 ounces Ricotta cheese
– 3 tbsp. Cilantro
– 1/4 cup sour cream
– 3 cups Mozzarella cheese
The assembly line…
Before the oven – look at all the layers.

What You Need to Do

– Preheat the oven to 350; coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
– Cook pasta according to directions on package; drain. Whisk together 2 eggs, melted butter and Parmesan cheese. Toss with pasta and set aside.
– Combine the Ricotta cheese, sour cream and Cilantro. Set aside/add to your assembly line.
– Brown ground beef/sausage and drain any grease. Mix marinara sauce in with cooked ground beef and set aside.
– Layer half of the pasta mixture, half of the Ricotta cheese mixture, half of the meat sauce and half of the Mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers.
– Cover the dish with tinfoil and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly! 
– Enjoy with a side of crusty French bread!

After the oven – yes please!
Please ignore the fine china & look at the yummy food!

I really enjoyed this – I got the recipe from Plain Chicken and only modified bits and pieces; I didn’t use quite as much Mozzarella as she called for. My two guinea pigs did have one suggestion for making this dish in the future – they thought it needed more red sauce. 

I realize a 24 ounce jar of marinara sauce probably seems like a lot, but once you start to layer in all the ingredients…the marinara can get a little lost in all the other flavors. If you aren’t really a die hard “red sauce” fan, then make it according to the directions; I’m not a huge red sauce person and I thought it was just fine the way it was….
However, I was feeding two people who absolutely love traditional spaghetti and while they helped themselves to a second helping, they both agreed a little more red sauce could go a long way. I’d definitely tell you to give this recipe a try, just know who you’re cooking for and get into the kitchen!

Fitness Friday

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Who knew?

Well – I guess this week is confession time – which is fitting since the Pope is in DC. Sorry, is that not a PC thing to say? Oops. *Insert grimace emoji here*

I have been falling off the wagon a little bit and in the worst way possible! I’ve been drinking calories and that’s just not acceptable. We have traveled every weekend this month (camping, Hershey, PA and DC) and for some reason I guess I told myself that maybe those calories didn’t matter on the weekends…and ordered soda after soda for lunch and dinner. 
While I know that’s not a huge thing, it’s definitely a little thing and sometimes the little things can add up to a huge thing. Now, I’m not saying I’ve put any weight back on or suffered any irreparable consequences because of having a Sprite with my supper…I guess I’m just a little down on myself for hopping off the water bandwagon. So, I’m back on it…full force…and that basically means I spend half the day in the bathroom. Good grief.
I guess? I don’t usually take my phone to the bathroom.

So, I guess that’s really the only confession at this point. Otherwise I think I’ve been “behaving” pretty well and I’m just keeping up the walking on a daily basis – this week I’ve managed to walk 2 miles (or a little more) every day.
I will say – Thursday’s walk was especially cruel because someone in the neighborhood was baking cake and it didn’t matter where we walked…you could smell it everywhere! It was completely wild. It was also completely mean, ha-ha. I say that like the person baking the cake was doing it intentionally to make me hungry. 
That’s all for this week. I’ll be over here drinking all the water and going to the bathroom all day long. Ha-ha! But really, that’s where I’ll be.

A picture – because hey, why not?

Souper Stew Times Two

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I don’t know about the weather in your neck of the woods, but here in the Shenandoah Valley it seems that in a matter of a week Autumn has arrived in full force! The temperatures during the day hover around 75 and at night…well, it’s starting to get brisk when I take Watson out for his last walk of the night!

Autumn is my absolute favorite season for so many reasons but a huge reason – it’s soup season! I could eat soup all day, every day and be completely happy. So, to celebrate the start of Autumn and the many nights of helping myself to a steaming bowl of delicious soup (or stew) I thought I’d share two new soup recipes I’m loving!

Homemade Ham, Bean and Bacon Soup
All of the crispy bacon!
Veggies simmering away…

What You Need

– 4 ounces bacon, any style
– 4 ounces diced ham
– 1 cup diced onions
– 1 cup diced carrots
– 1 tsp. garlic powder (you can also use 2 cloves of garlic; I didn’t have any on hand)
– 4 cups chicken broth
– 3 cans of Great Northern beans; drained
– 1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
– salt & pepper to taste
Doesn’t this look like something you’d want to eat? A carrot, ham & bean smoothie?
Please ignore that it looks less than appealing from this angle – it is SO good.

What You Need to Do

– Cook the bacon in your soup pot until cooked through/crispy. Remove from the pot and set aside, retaining the bacon grease in your pot (no more than 2 tablespoons).
– Add the onions and carrots and saute in the bacon grease for approximately 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook about a minute more. Stir in the chicken broth, ham and beans, season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a bubble and then reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for one hour. 
– Remove half the soup and put in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add back to the soup and stir in well. Add the can of tomato sauce and crumble in the cooked bacon. Let the soup simmer for 5 minutes more and then serve!
– Garnish with (more) bacon or shredded mozzarella cheese. Or just eat it as it is…either way, it’s great!

Putting in the finishing touches!
Ignore the fine china & instead gaze at the yummy soup!
Seven Can Soup

Seriously – seven cans. That’s it. I mean…almost…
It looks rough at this point, I’ll give you that. Give it time.

What You Need

– 1 can black beans
– 1 can kidney beans
– 1 can pinto beans
– 1 can corn
– 1 can petite diced tomatoes
– 1 can Rotel (original)
– 1 can chili w/out beans
– 8 ounces Velveeta cheese; cubed
– salt & pepper to taste

The cheese & wine section of the kitchen counter, ha!
The cheese makes the ultimate sacrifice…

What You Need to Do

– Empty all seven cans into your cooking pot…do NOT drain them, just dump them. Stir together to mix well and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes.
– Add in salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
– Toss in the cubed Velveeta cheese and mix well, allowing cheese to melt.
– Serve immediately! You can garnish with tortilla chips…and if you’re like me, a little bit more cheese. Again, you really don’t have to garnish this at all because it’s SO yummy. And SO easy!

The finished product!
So – there you have it. Two delicious soups to make as the weather starts to get a little cooler. I’m so excited for Autumn and so excited that soup season is here! And lest you think I came up with these all on my own, I’ll give credit where credit is due: Ham Bean & Bacon Soup – Pintrest find, Seven Can Soup – The Pioneer Woman!

Watson Wednesday

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So – because I’m feeling generous…and mostly because Watson is always so cute that I have a million pictures of him…there are two pictures of Watson today. If that doesn’t make your Wednesday, well…I can’t help you.

In deep reflection…
He can find a way to relax almost anywhere…