My Current Thoughts and Ponderings…

I don’t know about you, but I feel like summer is whizzing by. But I also feel like this summer has been living up to all of its potential. You know when you have those summers when you do almost zero of the fun, little things you had planned or wanted to do that makes summer, well, summer? (My hand is up and waving high on that one!)

We all have the “big ticket” items like going on a vacation or two, but why do the small things tend to get so easily pushed aside? Things like going to a farmer’s market, star gazing, or having friends over for a barbecue.

But this summer—the summer of 2017—has been full of the “small ticket” items for Philip and me! Or maybe I’ve just finally accepted that I’m not going to get to every little thing in one summer, but am instead appreciating all the things that we have been able to do. Whatever the reason, I’ve been loving the star gazing (or in the case from Saturday night, watching the distant lightning), the fire pits and s’mores, and the evening walks around the neighborhood.

Of course, there’s so much more than just those things going on in our summer, so I thought I’d bring back another post of my current thoughts and ponderings. :)

Right now I’m…

Splurging on: This tablecloth. You know you’re an adult when…your splurge is a tablecloth. What’s happening to me?! Even though those catalogs that come to you in the mail seem a little behind the times, I’m tellin’ ya, they work! We received a Crate and Barrel catalog (my biggest downfall when it comes to home decor) in the mail last week and instead of my best judgement to just toss it in the recycling, I flipped through the pages on my way from the mailbox to our front door. In that short span of time, I flipped to this tablecloth and immediately my wheels started turning. The colors were all there and in just an odd way, I thought it may actually work. Let’s just say, the very next day I ordered it…online.

Snacking: Banana Brittle. The nice thing about being a retail dietitian is that I see all these new products before they actually make it onto the floor. This package caught my eye one day and, if you know me, you know I love me my peanut butter. Also, bananas are a favorite, too. :) Once they finally made it to the shelf, I had to try them out (another splurge item). I love that this company is all about “upcycling” bananas that wouldn’t normally be able to be sold in order to reduce food waste, but then I’m also not sure why they have to be so expensive. Riddle me that one. All that to say, they’re a fun treat, but I probably won’t be adding it to my weekly grocery list.

Loving on: Babies. It is definitely baby season around me! It seems like family and friends, near and far, are having babies this year. And I’m absolutely loving it! Both of my closest friends from college just had babies, one that I saw in May and again just last weekend (gosh, they grow so quickly!) and the other one I’m eagerly waiting to see in August!

Eating: Caprese Pasta Salad. Speaking of friends having babies, our neighbor recently had a baby girl just two weeks ago. I loved that when I offered to bring her a meal, she suggested we come over and eat it with them and meet their new little one. I thoroughly enjoyed the cuddle time and I think they were equally loving this Caprese Pasta Salad that we brought over with some grilled chicken. It was the perfect summer meal and was so tasty and fresh!

Eagerly anticipating: American Players Theatre. Each year Philip and I have made a tradition of going to the American Players Theatre for our anniversary. This year the outdoor theatre has been completely renovated and I’m even more excited to go than usual. I’ve only heard positive praises from friends who have already gone this season and I can’t wait to experience it all for myself. The theatre is nestled in the woods of Wisconsin and is absolutely magical. A little wine and a packed picnic for dinner at the picnic tables surrounding the theatre ahead of time is always a great way to start the evening. :)

Reminiscing: Our latest trip to Iowa. Last weekend we made a three-day weekend out of our trip to Iowa for my friend from high school’s wedding. It was such a fun weekend that I’ve been looking back at all the pictures for the entire past week! The wedding was beautiful and because the reception was in Okoboji, we spent the rest of the weekend being tourists and showing Philip all the sites that I knew and loved growing up. From shopping through little boutique stores to playing mini golf, we pretty much did all the classic summer-lake-town activities.

Exploring: Madison by bike. We seemed to have traveled all across Iowa last weekend, but every other weekend we seem to be exploring Madison on our bike rides. Hands down, the UW-Madison’s arboretum is my favorite place to ride our bikes through. The canopy of trees with the sunlight peaking through is literally breathtaking. Although pretty from both directions, seeing it as you go downhill is the most enjoyable. ;)

Drooling over: Breakfast at The CafeI’ve lived in a handful of great cities with excellent restaurants in my lifetime, but the one restaurant that is (and may forever) be my all-time favorite is The Cafe in Ames, Iowa. Last weekend when we were in town, we weren’t able to make it there for lunch or dinner, but thankfully their breakfasts are just as delicious. I’ve always heard such great things about their oatmeal (seriously, a restaurant who gets rave reviews about their oatmeal has to be a good one), and I finally was able to try it. The presentation was impressive and the oatmeal was delicious. Bonus points that when I asked for a nut butter on the side (I wasn’t kidding when I said I loved me my peanut butter), they gave me fresh cashew butter. *Heart eye emoji*

Living: The summer life. Like I said before, we are successfully hitting all the great summer spots in and around Madison. I finally was able to go to my first Concerts on the Square a couple weeks ago. It was the perfect night to throw down a blanket on the square, listen to a great orchestra, eat a picnic dinner, and (perhaps the best part) sit and people watch the 20,000 people who were there (!). Other significant summer events thus far have included a night out on the Memorial Union’s Terrace and fire pits with s’mores (classic!) and wine. :)

Intrigued by: Devil’s Lake Lavender. I just heard about this place last week from a friend and I immediately wrote it down as a place for Philip and me to check out at some point. It just opened earlier this month and is outside of Baraboo, a short drive from Madison. It looks so picturesque and relaxing! Anything that boasts of being a spa, café, and farmstay has my attention!

Reading: Born to Eat. Okay, so I haven’t actually started yet, but I’m just about to start and I seriously can’t wait. #nerd. While baby food has been the popular choice for decades by moms for a baby’s first food, the approach to having babies feed themselves real food—known as self-feeding or baby-led weaning—is growing in popularity. While I have no personal experience with it, I’m pretty much on board with it and am looking forward to reading how to practically feed babies in this way.

Making: Pineapple Banana Ice CreamBy now you’ve probably heard of banana ice cream (where you blend bananas up and it tastes “exactly” like ice cream). Well, last year at the Iowa State Fair, Philip and I sampled some pineapple ice cream at the Vitamix booth (seriously, I could spend hours there just watching them make things and sell everyone on how great a Vitamix is) and we were sold on the ice cream. Since we own a Vitamix, I immediately went home and bought a bag of frozen pineapple…and it has sat in our freezer ever since until yesterday. (Ahh, how does that happen?!) I changed it up slightly from what we saw last August, but in essence, it was a bag of frozen pineapple, a couple handfuls of frozen banana slices (because why not!), and about a cup of half and half that we had left over from when Philip’s dad was visiting for his morning coffee. Even though it’s been a year, it was just as smooth and delicious as I remembered. :) If you have a strong powered blender, I’d definitely recommend making this…preferably sooner rather than later! ;) (The link and picture below is for a recipe similar to what I made, but not 100% exact).