Where do I begin?
Friday was the longest workday in the history of workdays. The first half went by relatively quickly, but the rest of the day just crawled by. I was so anxious to be done with work and head up north that I could barely stand it. The only exercise I got done post-work was running around like a crazy person grocery shopping, packing, and jumping up and down from sheer excitement. At long last, it was time to pick up Shelby.
I made sure my car was ready, too.
For three hours Shelby and I talked, sang, and counted down the minutes until we would arrive in paradise. I was so grateful to have her there to keep me company on the ride up.
I never get tired of seeing my friends.
It was a little chilly when we first arrived, so we hung out inside talking, singing, and making dinner.
Spaghetti using Em’s mom’s secret tomato sauce.
And the best Caesar salad I have ever eaten. (Homemade dressing and bread for croutons…yum! Em is turning into quite the baker).
Shelby was in charge of bringing the beer, and she made some great choices: Wells’ Banana Bread Beer, Oarsman, and Ruby Shiner to name a few. It actually warmed up as the night went on, so we headed out to build a fire.
It was a long day, so we turned in relatively early in anticipation of Saturday: the big show (aka dusk til dawn awesomeness).
Good morning, Shelby! Thanks for wearing a shirt that would help us remember your name.
Dan and Em were on the docket again to make breakfast Saturday morning.
Dan cooked up some local uncured bacon.
And Emily warmed up a batch of baked oatmeal she had made the day before.
I highly recommend Heidi Swanson’s cookbook Super Natural Every Day, if only for this baked oatmeal recipe. It is so naturally sweet, nutty, and just all-around delicious.
The uncured bacon was some of the best bacon I have ever tasted. I had a few more pieces after the first one. It was addictive!
Saturday started as kind of a lazy day. It had rained in the early morning, and it was still grey and cool outside so we lounged around and played a few games.
Jake brought a game called Pass the Pigs which was really simple but fun. You basically toss the pigs like dice and rack up points based on how they land. I started off poorly but fortunately made a comeback late in the game. I didn’t win, but it was fun!
And of course we spent more time singing.
My Watermelon Coolers were a big hit.
- 6 cups pureed watermelon
- 2 cups honey whiskey
- 2/3 cup Triple Sec
- Ice and Seltzer water for serving
And several snacks.
And then it was time to build another fire.
Magical. Dan tried to correct me on this point, claiming it was “all science,” but I returned that science is responsible for fire’s creation, but not the way that people are drawn to it—that’s pure magic.
We spent a lot of time out by the fire playing fun games.
Which all involved acrobatics of some kind.
And then it was time to head back inside to make dinner.
Shelby and I were in charge, but everyone helped us put together Saturday dinner: Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches and Watermelon Feta Salad. The only changes I made to Mark Bittman’s recipe for the sandwiches was to use my own hummus instead of the bean spread called for. I made that bean spread once, but it wasn’t nearly flavorful enough for my taste. I prefer my hummus!
Watermelon Feta Salad
- 6 cups cubed watermelon
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Combine watermelon, feta, onion, and mint in a large bowl. Pour the lime juice and olive oil over the mixture and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Recipe from: PBS
A wonderful, summery meal.
Salsa dancing in the kitchen! After dinner, we headed back outside to enjoy more time around the campfire. It was a wonderful day, but I was exhausted and was the second one to head to bed. But it meant I was up early enough to enjoy this:
Good morning, Paradise.
Soon the clan was all up and we enjoyed some pre-breakfast berries.
Oh, summer. Did I mention how much I love you?
It was a warm and glorious day, and we all agreed to stay as long as we could to enjoy it. Tess & Jake kept things simple for breakfast with some danishes, sausage, and bacon.
Eat, Papa, eat!
Well, if I must.
After breakfast, Emily, Amanda, and I took the paddle boat around the lake while the rest of the gang went for a swim. After a bit more lounging around, we got to the solemn task of cleaning up, packing, and saying goodbye.
It was a sad drive back, but a necessary one. Fortunately, it was a gorgeous drive. Shelby and I were exhausted when we arrived home and decided to sit on the couch, watch a movie, and eat pizza. We ordered Rosati’s and I fought hard for my free birthday pizza. I received an email from them a week before, and they claimed it was a mistake; they never sent out coupons for birthday pizza.
However, I eventually wore them down (nicely) and printed out my coupon for proof for the driver.
We ordered a Margarita pan pizza, which was amazing. The crust was buttery, crunchy, and sturdy. I just don’t understand how people can prefer thin crust pizza–the crust is clearly where it’s at.
But my free thin crust cheese pizza was well-deserved and tasted all the better for being free. 🙂
After enjoying our chick flick (P.S. I Love You), I was more than ready for bed. Goodbye, Awesometown! I’ll be back again someday!