Tuesday, June 29, 2010

park & pool

After our visit to the blueberry patch, we cooled off with breakfast at Debbie's.  Then Debbie decided she would like to take the grandchildren to the park & splash pad.

At the park we ran...


Mastered the monkey bar rings...


Slide down slides...


...and down "fire house" poles...


Our plan was to cool off in the splash pad at 10:00 but supposedly on Sunday it doesn't open until noon.  We were all sweating, so we decided head to the pool for a dip...

We ended up having the entire pool to ourselves for about a hour...it was wonderful!  The cousins splashed, jumped off the diving board and slide down the waterslide.

We swam until it was time for Member-Guest Shoot Out.  We all jumped on golf carts to follow the action.  After the winner was decided [congrats to Dan & Brad], we headed back to Debbie's for a Fajitas Fiesta prepared by Uncle Topher.  It was a fun weekend filled with lots of family time!

Monday, June 28, 2010

picking blueberries

Debbie invited all of her grandchildren [who were up at 6:30] on Sunday morning to go blueberry picking...


Thankfully it wasn't stiffling hot and it was overcast...it turned out to be a pleasant morning for picking.

We searched for the rows with the ripest berries and set out to fill up our buckets...


I think Owen ate more berries than he picked.  He couldn't shove them in fast enough...


Yummy!  These are finger licking good...

We tried to get a shot of all the cousins [Banks slept in and missed the entire trip]...

...but this was as good as it got.  I guess we shouldn't have expected anything less after an hour of blueberry picking & eating!

We did end up with about a gallon of blueberries [enough for snacking and a delicious blueberry pie].

Thursday, June 24, 2010

chilton county peaches

On the way home from the beach, we always stop at exit 205 in Chilton County to grab a snack from Peach Park [home of the best homemade ice creams, fried pies & cobblers].  They also sell fresh veggies and peaches [of course] out front.  I bought the biggest basket of these...


With my peaches, I made 2 batches of Spiced Peach Jam.  Each batch called for 4 cups of peeled, pitted and diced peaches...


I cooked the peaches with some lemon juice, sugar & spices...


Once it was boiling, I added a pack of pectin and boiled it for a minute more.  Then I canned it so we can enjoy it until next peach season...


I also made a Grilled Peach Cobbler for Father's Day dinner. 

First I marinated 8 peaches [peeled, pitted & halved] in a can of peach nectar [usually found in the Mexican food section of your local grocery store] with a splash of peach schnappes for 1 hour...


Then I threw them on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side...


While my peaches were grilling, I melted a stick of butter in my casserole dish...


Then I layered a mixture of sugars, flour & milk; sliced grilled peaches and the peach marinate...


I baked it at 350 degrees for 1 hour.


Delightful served al la mode or all by itself!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Family Favorite: Garden Chicken Pasta

We have been loving eating all of our fresh from the garden veggies.  I cooked this recipe a few times last summer but have fallen in love with it all over again this year.  It is so simple, can be prepared ahead of time and the clean up is super easy!

I was inspired by this version but I do mine slightly different.  I used boneless, skinless chicken breast and pounded them out to be thinner [like you would do for chicken parmesan].  I placed the chicken breast on a square of aluminum foil.  Then sprinkled it with salt, pepper, fresh basil and fresh oregano [I added a few shakes of crushed red pepper to my piece of chicken]...


Next I layered lots sliced vidalia onion, squash and zucchini on top of the chicken...


Then I topped it with some marinara sauce [I used Paul Newman's...if you have some homemade that would be even more delicious], shredded Italian cheese and grated Parmesan...


I wrapped it up in the aluminum foil [trying to leave a little space at the top so all the cheese wouldn't stick to the top].  Bake it at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.  I served mine over angel hair...


It was so delicious & delightful last week that are going to have a repeat performance tonight!  I already have it assembled, sitting in the frig, waiting on dinner time to roll around.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

happy father's day

Happy Father's Day to our Dad and Granddads.  We love you and hope you have the perfect day!


[Jody's Dad, Banks and Jody after the final game in the city tournament]


[My Dad and Mary Reese dancing at Aunt Stacey's wedding reception.  Photograph by Leslie Adair of Leslie Adair Photography]

Saturday, June 19, 2010

decatur national rookie team


The day after the city championship, Banks started practicing with his new rookie team [2 first year players from each of the Minor B teams]. They played in a 4 game tournament against 2 Hartselle and 2 Athens teams ending up with a 2-2 record. Banks shared the catchers position with his friend Eppes. During a game against one of the Athens teams, Banks made a fabulous play by tagging a runner out who was trying to come home.  They ended up winning that game by only 1 run!


We now have a few weeks off from baseball before practices start for his fall baseball team.

Friday, June 18, 2010

toes in the sand

Mary Reese, Owen and I just spent a wonderful week at the beach [Banks and Jody stayed back to practice/play baseball].  I was a little nervous about our vacation with the ongoing oil crisis.  We like to spend the majority of our time on the beach.  But before we left, I told myself we might just be spending more time here...


Thankfully I booked us at a condo with a water slide, lazy river and zero entry pool.

This is what the beach/ocean looked like on our first day...


Oil and tar FREE [and no smell] but pretty deserted considering it is June.  [The next day the oil appeared, disappeared for 2 days and then reappeared for the remainder of the trip.]


While the beach was oil free, we soaked up every second.  We spent our days doing things like...


splashing in the waves,


digging in the sand,


watching the waves roll in,


putting our toes in the water,


playing with everyone else's toys,


playing with some friends and,


hunting for shells.

We spent the rest of our days poolside...


Owen enjoyed splashing around the shallow part of the big pool...


By the end of the week, he thought he could swim...


He has NO fear of the water.

Every afternoon he would crawl up in the lounge chair for a little poolside nap under a homemade tent...


While he was napping, Mary Reese was doing a little relaxing of her own...


We bribed her with a new pair of flip flops if she would go down the slide with Aunt Stacey...


On the 3rd time down with auntie, she pushed herself off and started going by herself...


I bet she went down that slide 1000 times during the week [and she got the cutest new pair of "high heel" flip flops]!

So her toes would look there best in those new flops, she got treated to several mani/pedis...


What would a beach trip be without good seafood?  We had some fabulous meals at some of our most favorite spots...


We ate at Big Fish, Wintzell's, The Crab Trap, Louisanna Lagniappe, Cobalt, Tin Top & Cosmos.  It was all delicious & delightful!

My personal favorite was Tin Top.  This is their menu...


They have fabulous food with the best southern sides [like fried okra, lima beans, collard greens, and gouda cheese grits].  Mary Reese was thrilled when these appeared on the table...


Fried Pickles!

On the morning that we left, this is what the ocean looked like...


You can see a huge layer of tar not too far off the shore.

The entire time we were there [day & night], they had people cleaning the beaches...


The people in the orange & green t-shirts shoved up tar by day and machines combed the beaches at night.

Every afternoon, signs like this would fly by...


We missed his visit by 1 day [thankfully because I heard the traffic was awful].

I think these 2 were worn out from all the beach fun...


We were all excited to get home!  We missed having Banks and Jody around...the beach just wasn't the same without them!

Hopefully our beaches will be back by next summer!