Friday, July 29, 2011

Field Trip!

On Saturday morning our photography class met at UT Gardens for the second field trip of the semester (the first one was when I was in IN for the Girls Weekend). We started shooting around 7:30am and finished up around 9am. Why so early you ask? Well, the light is better early in the morning, and because it's been sooo unbelievably hot and humid. Seriously, I should not be sweating leisurely walking around taking pictures of flowers! I still had a great time though and a few things started to click, like exposure compensation! Yeah!
Here are my favorite photos from the field trip, what do you think of them?





Thursday, July 28, 2011

His favorite thing

The first think we hear when he wakes up, "Daddy, we go golfing today?"


Happy Birthday Dave!

Happy Birthday to my awesome husband! I am so happy we found each other. I'd be lost without you!
I love you!! (and so does this little guy!)


Friday, July 22, 2011

Zucchini 5 ways!

zucchini bread
Zucchini bread
Tis the season for zucchini! I purchased 3 plants earlier this spring and have just started to get zucchini from the plants. The first one I got was HUGE and the second one I had actually spotted before it got too large. So you might ask, what do you do with all that zucchini?
Here are a few of my favorite ways to prepare zucchini:

Zucchini bread - the recipe from my Cooks Illustrated New Best Recipes is excellent - my yellowish photo to the right isn't :(
Zucchini Parmesan - sooo good, seriously I could make this at least once a week. The recipe is from A Cozy Kitchen, seriously, if you like to cook and don't follow this blog you are missing out!
Tomato, zucchini and feta pasta salad - recipe from The Pioneer Woman, this is a perfect light, mayo-free summer pasta salad
Risotto Primavera - another recipe from The Pioneer Woman, I love this one because you can really use whatever vegetables you have on hand. And it's delicious!
Summer Vegetable Tostadas - this recipe is from Cooking Light, it's an awesome combination of zucchini, corn, red onion and chicken in a green salsa sauce placed on top of a crispy tortilla, top with Monterrey jack cheese. A great and fast weeknight dinner!

What about you? What's your favorite way to prepare zucchini?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Girls Weekend

Last weekend was our second annual girls weekend. Six out of the eight of us were able to make it for the weekend at our friend Sandra's house outside of Chicago. Hopefully next year all of us will be able to make it! It's such a fun weekend, we eat way too much good food, drink too much and laugh, lots and lots. And for those of us with kids, it's a welcome weekend away from the kids. Sandra lives on Lake Louise, which means fishing and boating too. Most of our husbands don't understand why we fish first thing when we get up. What they don't understand is that we have to make the fish wall of fame in the basement, and we have to catch a fish every year to stay on the wall. It's really just about competition, they should understand that, right? Luckily all of us caught our fish this year :)

It's such a fun weekend for all of us (well, maybe not Sandra (and Mark) since we are at their house and she does a lot of work getting ready for us and feeding us). There is certainly something to be said for spending time with friends who you have known forever. Some of us have been friends since kindergarten and some of us met in high school, but through college, moving across the country, work, divorces and children we still make time to get together. I think Allison said it best, "I know I can come here and spend time with you guys and not be judged about anything." We've known each other for so long, and while our relationships may have changed dynamics over the years, it's still such a comfortable time for everyone.

Sarah and Sandra getting ready to go fishing!

Beth and Sarah arrived at Sandra's on Thursday night and Cindy, Allison and I arrived on Friday morning. After a great lunch of cucumber sandwiches, pickle wraps, chips and Potbelly's sandwiches we changed into our swimsuits and headed out on the lake to go fishing. Allison, Beth and Sarah were the first to catch their fish (bass), after fishing for a while we needed to cool off so we headed out a little farther into the lake so we could put the anchor down and jump in.

Sarah baiting her hook, or maybe replacing the hook after getting it caught in a tree, or on a log...

Allison's fish!

Sarah's fish!

It was the perfect day to be on the lake, sunny and in the 80's. We spent the rest of the afternoon on the lake catching up, eating and drinking (responsibly of course). And just relaxing. Oh, and there was the diving contest, that I won. However, on Saturday Cindy's awesome dive through me off my short lived throne...

Sarah, Beth, Sandra and Cindy-seriously girls, we need to work on the group photos!

See, we DID drink water, way to stay hydrated Beth!

Sarah stayed hydrated in other ways...

Friday night we were treated to a feast of pork steaks, corn on the cob and baked potatoes. Dessert was cheesecake. I was wiped out so I headed to bed early, the other girls played cards for a few hours and turned in.

Saturday morning we were all up around 8am chatting and eating breakfast pizza and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Since not everyone had caught their fish on Friday we headed back out onto the lake to see if Cindy and I could catch our fish and make it on the wall of fame. Cindy caught her fish pretty quickly. Allison and Sarah also caught more fish (Sarah also caught the tree and a log). Finally, after we moved to our second spot I caught my fish!! Unfortunately the fish swallowed the hook, apparently that happens when you pull on the pole too late, so he might not have made it (generally, we catch, photograph and release). Although Cindy said when we started the engine she saw him swim away, so that I what I am going to remember.

Cindy's dive on Saturday that through me off my throne :(

It was getting pretty hot after we finished fishing so we headed back out on the lake to have lunch and drop the anchor so we could get in the water. Our Saturday afternoon was pretty much like Friday afternoon, drinking, eating and floating in the water, repeat. We did do some tubing too. Cindy and Allison were the adventurous ones who went tubing. Allison was a little nervous, but did awesome.


The beginning of Cindy's wipeout!

Going in...


Back on the tube having fun!

Allison getting ready to go!

She wasn't nervous at all...

She held on for dear life, but didn't fall off!

Sandra and Allison on a leisurely ride back to the dock.

After boating all day we headed in to make dinner (ok, really Mark made dinner, thanks Mark!!). We had steak and chicken kabobs, roasted asparagus, green beans and Howies bread, such an awesome dinner. And more cheesecake for dessert.

We also played a bags/cornhole tournament. And let me tell you, there was definitely a ringer in our midst, cough, cough SANDRA ("no really, I never play") whatever, she was awesome. Although I will say that Cindy and Mark had quite the come back and did end up beating Sandra and Sarah 3-0. And that was after Cindy's rather large martini.

She looks sweet and innocent, don't let her fool you!

One martini + one Cindy=Happiness

An intense game of cornhole!

Ok, maybe not, it was a lot of fun!

Lake Louise is a private lake, the only people who are able to use it are the people who live on the lake. That makes it perfect for a late night cruise. It's great to go out and see the lake when it's calm and there is no one out there, it's fun to see the houses all lit up too. After our boat cruise we headed back inside for taco dip, spinach dip and more dessert (there is A LOT of eating on our girls weekends). It was also time for more chatting and catching up.

Sunday morning we all slept in a little later than usual. Sandra, Sarah and Mark made us a huge breakfast of scrambled eggs, monkey bread, bacon, sausage, fruit and muffins. After an awesome breakfast and more talking (seriously, how none of us lost our voices I will never know) Allison and Cindy headed back to Iowa and I left to drive back to Tennessee.

Seriously, SUCH A FUN WEEKEND! Taking a break from everything for a few days does something for your soul. Especially if you have kids, the break from everything for a few days is huge. Believe me, your  family will survive for a few days without you!

Thanks again girls, I don't know what I'd do without you!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Two-Fer Tuesday

Our first zucchini of the season! I didn't even think that any zucchini had started growing, guess I was wrong...



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fireworks and more!

We had a great long 4th of July weekend. Saturday we went boating with friends, Sunday Dylan and I went to the zoo and Monday we went out to Tennessee National for their annual bbq and fireworks. I had to work during the bbq, so Dylan got to go out on the golf course with Dave, Chad and Andrew. Afterwords Dylan had fun (trying) hitting balls with Brandon and Andrew.
Dylan needs to work on his form.

I think all the boys have range kid jobs in their futures!

I also took some fireworks photos, these are the best of what I took. I'm still not super happy with them though. Fireworks photography is hard!
I like this one a lot, the bottom two fireworks look solarized.

One of my favorites.

I like this one because the firework on the left looks like a palm tree!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Because my Mom made me

My Mom is wonderful about sending Dylan clothes. Dylan loves fire trucks and she sent him this cute outfit and requested pictures of him in it, so here you go Mom!

This is the face I got when I told him I was going to take a picture.

Running over to see what the picture looks like made for a much better picture.