Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sprucing Up

On Friday Matt and Riker met me at my office around 2:30 for an afternoon of traipsing around the city. I have Summer Fridays, meaning my office closes at 2:00 from 4th of July to Labor Day, and while I don't always get to take advantage of them I was determined to get all my work done by the time my family arrived so we could start the weekend early. Usually once a summer Matt comes to meet me on a Friday afternoon so we can hang out in the city, and we were both excited to have Riker with us for the first time. He was a total champ all afternoon and loved the Big Apple.

We started things off with a long walk down to The High Line, which is a park built on an old, above ground railroad track. I've always wanted to check it out, and am glad we finally did. It's a really neat park and Riker had a chance to run around in some sprinklers while we enjoyed a homemade cucumber lime ice pop from one of the vendors.

After the park we hit up Chelsea Market to ogle at all the delicious eats and snack on a quick taco. I was suckered into ordering one when I saw they offered "grilled cactus tacos." Must be tried! It was good, but I wasn't that hungry so handed it off to Matt after a few bites.

Another long walk later and we were in Hell's Kitchen, which is just where you want to be at dinnertime. With Riker in tow we needed a relaxed place with quick service and kid-friendly food, so we settled on Southern Hospitality. It hit all the Riker marks, has pretty yummy food AND is owned by Justin Timberlake. ;) I had a BBQ shrimp salad with avocado and a bunch of veggies. I love Southern Hospitality's cornbread so ordered a side of that for the table as well.

Another walk - this time a short one - and we were in Times Square where we spent the rest of the evening. I loved the look on Riker's face when he saw all the big bright lights and the street performers. We had to hit up the enormous Toys 'R Us as well where we rode the indoor ferris wheel, and ended the night with fro yo on Broadway (fat free peanut butter for me, made moot by the Oreos and walnuts I spooned on top).

With no real plans for Saturday or Sunday, I really wanted to use the weekend to do some sprucing up around the house. We're having a BBQ at our place next weekend and I felt like our backyard was looking a little ho hum, not to mention that we got basically no chores done last weekend as we were beach bums the whole time, so Matt and I agreed to spend the weekend getting stuff done: cleaning, yard work, grocery shopping (including the monthly Trader Joe's stock-up), and laundry. Fun stuff!

You can't get started on the day without breakfast, though, so we immediately said yes when Matt's sister Missy invited us over for breakfast on Saturday morning. Procrastinators, we most definitely are.

Missy and Corey had their good friends Dave & Lori (and their new baby Zach) visiting, and we hadn't seen them in a while so it was really nice catching up with them over breakfast. Riker and Zach were fast friends too. :)

Morning get togethers are so nice. Seeing friends and family for breakfast/brunch starts the day off on a nice foot, and you still have the whole rest of the day/night to run errands and get stuff done. And yes, that's a beer sitting next to the coffee mug. A breakfast stout, to be precise. It was brunch after all.

The whole rest of our Saturday was spent doing yard work and going to every single store in a three town radius looking for a new patio set. We've had our set since we moved in 5 years ago and I've been itching for a new one all summer. The original has lasted us a long time and has been great, but it's starting to rust and I've really had my heart set on a wood one. I figured we could find a good deal on one at the end of summer. We looked for hours on end, and I was beginning to think we'd never find one until Matt's mom said she saw one on sale at BJ's. Bingo!

Out with the old (I promise it doesn't usually look like that, it was just covered in stuff I was working on this afternoon)...

And in with the new!

I LOVE it! We still need to get an umbrella and cushions, but we want red ones and haven't found the right ones yet. I'm not sweating it, I love it just the way it is.

Other backyard projects this weekend included replanting and mulching the flower bed behind the house, which was looking a little worn and sad with dying plants. I found some awesome grass plants at Home Depot that need barely any care. Perfect.

And throwing out our old, fraying hand-me-down fire pit chairs and replacing them with two new Adirondack chairs to match the ones my parents gave us this summer. All they need is a matching stain and we'll be all set.

I love working on the house and freshening things up, and it feels so nice to have the whole house clean and in order and the back yard refreshed and looking pretty before heading into the work week.

Meals were a little scattered throughout the weekend since we were running around and working so much, but I wanted to make sure to make a family dinner tonight. It started raining just as we finished our outdoor work, and with a chill in the air and a gray drizzle coming down outside I decided to make a big pot of coconut green curry for the clan.

It was super easy thanks to a jar of green curry paste I picked up at the store. I just simmered it with a can of coconut milk while I cooked off a few bags of frozen veggies and sauteed some tofu. Then I tossed everything together in a big pot, and dinner was served. Yum.

I've got exactly 5 minutes before Breaking Bad comes on and Matt is giving me a time check about every 30 seconds, so I've gotta get my booty in some PJ's and get settled on the couch!

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