Monday, July 25, 2011

Cozy Knit Sweaters

I know that warm wool sweaters are probably the last thing on anyone's mind right now. Apparently a heat wave is sweeping across the east coast. The temperature down here is about 85 degrees everyday. And the air conditioning works quite well in our room, so I typically try to stay warm in a hoodie and sweatpants. So knitting a couple sweaters made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

There are two patterns in particular that I've been anxious to try. And while visiting our friends in PA this summer, I found a beautiful red wool on sale at Michael's. This little cardigan used just a little more than one ball of yarn. So naturally, I will be making a little hat and shoes to complete the outfit.

One of my favorite prints is a classic argyle. So I was thrilled to find a pattern for this baby sweater vest. The only challenging part was keeping all the colors untangled, but the vest is knit in one piece so it was a very quick project. I used the same red wool from the previous sweater in the argyle pattern and a soft khaki as the accent color.

While I was home a few weeks ago, I bought a light-weight gray cardigan on clearance. It had the front half of a tank top built in. But, I wanted the sweater to be more versatile, so I cut out the tank top and decided to save the fabric. I'm in love with fabric flowers right now, and try to come up with any excuse to make them. I found some light gray yarn in my small stash, knit a little headband out of that, and added a flower from my recycled fabric.

You can stay updated on the latest additions to my shop by searching for Marigold Lane on Facebook or visiting the website.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fresh Mango Salsa

This past Sunday at church, someone gave us a bag of fresh mangoes from their yard. Ryan loves to just eat a plain mango. But I think it's too much work to cut up the mango only to eat it a couple seconds later. So I decided to make a fresh mango salsa instead.

Salsa, especially if it is made with fruit, is one of my favorite things to make. It requires no cooking or exact measuring - just a lot of chopping. I really should make them more often now that I think about it. My sister makes a killer peach salsa, and I made a fruit salsa with strawberries and kiwis (served with cinnamon tortilla crisps) for a party a few years ago. But that's the extent of my salsa-making experience.

When Ryan and I were at the grocery store this afternoon, I was fortunate enough to find all the ingredients for the mango salsa, all grown here in Grenada. Back at home I got to work chopping the red onion, red bell pepper, and fresh cilantro. Then it was time to tackle the mangoes. I think they were a little too ripe because they were far more mushy than firm. But I salvaged as much as I could while managing to get mango juice on every inch of the counter.

After a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a dash of salt and pepper, I put the salsa in the refrigerator until dinner. I plan to use it with chicken breasts tonight, and hopefully we'll have enough left over for chips and salsa tomorrow. I will definitely be searching the internet for more salsa recipes to try over the next few months!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Edisto Beach Vacation

This afternoon, I spent a couple hours lounging and reading by the pool. As nice as it was to have a quiet, sunny afternoon to myself, it reminded me of the summer beach trips we took with our families last month. And that made me miss our families.

So, while I'm thinking of it, here is a little recap of the first trip we took to Edisto Beach (south of Charleston) with Ryan's family.

This vacation spot is especially meaningful because Mom Hudson spent many summers there as a child. A few more houses are on the island now, but not too much else has changed. Edisto is a quiet, relaxed island with all the charm of a small southern town. We buy fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables for a local farmer almost every day, and you'll see more bikes than cars on the roads. The Hudsons rent a house for a week each summer, and this was my third time to be there with them. The back of the house overlooks a little pond, which you can see in the background here. Once in a while we'll even see an alligator in the pond.

On our first morning there, Ryan and I went for a bike ride with Dad Hudson before heading back to the house for a delicious brunch. The bike rides were definitely a necessity throughout the week as we enjoyed many incredible meals. We spent that first afternoon relaxing on the beach and catching up on each other's lives from the past few months.

Speaking of meals (again), I discovered a new favorite recipe that week. On Tuesday evening, my brother-in-law, John, cooked a delicious dinner of mahi mahi for us. And one of the side items was broiled pineapple. I love fresh pineapple, and this recipe is absolutely heavenly! Simply cut a fresh pineapple into strips and brush each piece with a mixture of coconut milk, cinnamon, and a little sugar. You could do this a few hours before cooking, but we just let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Broil the pineapple in the oven until they are browned, then top with chopped fresh mint.

One of my favorite parts about vacationing in Edisto is spending a day in Charleston. We drove up there on Wednesday, and had a wonderful time walking around that beautiful city. I love looking at all the different shops in the market.

And of course, the streets are lined with picturesque restaurants, shops, and houses.

We had an early dinner at Hyman's - a delicious seafood restaurant in Charleston. Our favorite dish of the meal was the shrimp and grits, made with a creamy alfredo sauce. It's a good thing we had more walking to do after dinner!

On Thursday morning, we planned to take a boat ride to Otter Island and look for shells. So Wednesday night, my brother-in-law, Andrew, and I packed a picnic lunch of homemade pimento cheese sandwiches to take with us. We had the beach to ourselves that morning, and we enjoyed a beautiful walk and lunch by the water.

The week came to an end much too quickly, as we had to leave on Friday morning to make it home for Ryan's 10-year high school reunion that night. But we're so thankful for the relaxing, beautiful vacation we enjoyed as a family.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth of July

Yesterday, we celebrated our second 4th of July out of the country. And since Independence Day was not on a weekend, it was business as usual for Ryan. He had class from 8-12, lab from 1-2, and worked on his research papers until 11:00pm. Since that didn't leave much time for celebrating, I decided to make a typical 4th of July meal for our dinner. Ryan asked for hot dogs, and I happened to find some turkey franks that were cheaper than the beef hot dogs. They were delicious, low in fat, and I don't think Ryan knows they weren't beef. Baked beans, deviled eggs, and potato salad rounded out our American meal.

One of my favorite things about July 4th is watching the Boston Pops concert and fireworks display. I've watched it on TV almost every year for as long as I can remember. Ryan told me that in two years (when we're living in NJ) we can go to Boston for the 4th and see them live. I'm already counting down the days! But for this year, I enjoyed eating apple pie and watching the incredible show from our tropical paradise.

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