Though our regular weekly activities are winding down, somehow our days as of late have been busier than ever!
Last week... our patio was re-laid, and a few additional improvements were made. I thought it would take a couple weeks, but our masonry company began first thing Monday morning, and was done by Sunday afternoon! James and I are so, so happy with how it came out and I am so, so happy to have been given carte blanche (rather, carte blanche on a major budget) to pick out a few new pieces of furniture. Upon its procurement, I'll share some pictures of the finished project. Meanwhile, I am busy brainstorming the perfect first patio meal that James and I will share on it in celebration.
In less exciting news, one day last week, I was informed - at 6 a.m., mind you - that some time around 1 a.m., James was pretty sure he saw - and heard - a bat in our bathroom closet.
Some of my close friends and family may recall another bat incident that we dealt with a few years ago. Needless to say, it wasn't the greatest way to start the day. The photo above was taken at 6:30 a.m. What exactly is James doing? Oh, just going through out dirty laundry - piece by piece - in an attempt to make sure the bat he could no longer find was not hiding in a pair of day-old pants. (Not pictured is the tennis racquet used to bat [pun not intended] each item of clothing.)
Around 7 a.m., we both breathed a huge sigh of relief as the bat James thought he saw turned out to be a(n apparently) huge cricket. Um, yeah.
In much happier and more fun news, I am ridiculously happy that one of my best friends - and former roommates - is now back on the mainland and on the East Coast! Danielle (who made her first appearance on A Pinch of Nutmeg here) and I first met my freshman year (she was a sophomore transfer) at the University of Connecticut and became fast friends. We roomed together until she graduated, and then shared an apartment my first year out of college. Never could I have had a better and more fun roommate.
Anyway, one day last week Sammy and I picked her up to go for lunch, and lunch ended up becoming an impromptu visit to our alma mater. Though James swears that Sammy may attend any school - so long as it rhymes with Smillanova - I think Sammy looks pretty comfortable sitting on top of the UConn husky dog mascot statue in his mini UConn sweatshirt. (Don't mind the lack of one shoe - some battles are not worth the fight.)
The above photo was taken in the new Student Union, which is way nicer and has a million more offerings than the Student Union that was there in my day. (And no, I can't believe I just used the term, "in my day.")
As a journalism major, I spent the majority of my class time in the Arjona building, above. It's apparently going to be torn down soon.
The first year and a half of college, I lived in Eddy Hall. It's a good thing that Sammy could not comprehend and will not remember the stories Danielle and I reminisced over as we walked through the Alumni Quad.
Halfway through my sophomore year, Danielle and I moved to the former "South C" dorm. Our suite was right above the Anna Mabel Snow Hall sign. (Apparently the dorm has since been renamed.) I lived in that suite until I graduated.
As if living together wasn't enough, one year, Danielle and I both held jobs at a coffee shop that had locations in the Student Union and the library. At the time it was called Origins Cafe, but it also appears to have been renamed. I'm pretty sure I went on a five-year coffee hiatus after working this job, and will never look at cream cheese in the same way.
Perhaps not the best depiction of our campus, which has transformed into an even more beautiful and modern college since I've graduated, but we were having too much fun telling old stories to be bothered to keep whipping out the camera / iPhone.
Moving on..... Later in the week, James and I went to a barbecue at a friend's house. While I love cooking, I go through ebbs and flows with it. Lately, I haven't cooked much, and have consumed more boxed macaroni and cheese than I'd like to admit. But come the barbecue, I was ready to snap out of it. My first item - Smitten Kitchen's strawberry summer cake.
I believe this was originally a Martha Stewart recipe. Now I love Martha, but I strongly dislike her recipes. They are almost always lacking in flavor. But I loved this cake! Sugary and sweet, and filled with plenty of juicy strawberries. It most certainly will not be the last time it will grace my oven this summer.
I forgot to take a picture, but I also made these baked creamy chicken and chipotle taquitos, and let me tell you - they were gobbled up within minutes. They were super easy to assemble (I did the same as the recipe suggested, and purchased precooked chicken [which, admittedly, skeeves me out a bit, but it saved me a ton of time] and shredded it via my food processor), and even better when dipped in salsa verde. If you're looking for a good appetizer to bring to a party, look no further.