Cottage Weekend // Chesapeake Bay

Friday night, we went out to dinner after what felt like a busy week! We got a drink at Twisted Vines before heading to dinner at Red Rocks. I love our neighborhood!


We came home and rented McFarland,USA with the pup!


We had quite the leisurely start to our Saturday morning. Eventually, we packed our stuff, dropped the pup off to hang with his grandpa and headed down to the Chesapeake Bay!


We stayed with some friends in their bay side cottage and it was just beautiful!


It was practically in the bay! We walked out on the back deck and saw this:


I didn’t take any other pictures because I was relaxing and enjoying my time eating, talking, and finding shark teeth!

We came home Sunday afternoon because we needed to yard work, house clean up and prep for the week. Hi little baby bunny!


I came home to an awesome surprise! A handmade quilt from my aunt who lives in NC. She used beautiful, retro-inspired fabric and I just love it! It gives a great pop of color to our gray couch.


There were specific instructions in her note to share with Louis…He approves!


We had so much rain last week and now the sun is out so our garden is super happy!




Z grilled last night and we had a big salad with the spicy radishes from our garden!


Usher Farm for the win!!


Back to the work week! As the summer goes on, the weekends get busier and busier! My June weekends are full already:

1st Weekend: Cottage

2nd Weekend: Pride Parade

3rd Weekend: Pike-a-Palooza // Columbia Pike Blues Festival

4th Weekend: Miami with Mom to visit A, S, and CARTER!! He turns 1 this week! I can’t wait to cuddle him <3


Weekend Fun and Other Things.

This is a random weekend post from this past weekend.

My weekend started on Friday, because I had the day off from work! My morning starting with 3/4 of the G’s! The occasion? Big M was graduating from preschool! Little M and I hung out in the back…with a snack catcher!

  D and Maddie maddieIMG_3958Miles graduates

Z and I ordered food in on Friday night and I got a treat: Coconut Bubble Tea!! It was super sweet and I mainly ate the tapioca and turned the coconut milk in to ice cubes for iced coffee.

coconut bubble tea

On Saturday, z and I ran a bunch of errands separately — I saw this sleeping bag but resisted the urge to buy it.walking bag

z brought home a bunch of beautiful flowers and a free bag of….lady bugs! So weird.


I got a free sample of Everlast Vegan Protein in the mail over the weekend and it made a nice addition to my morning smoothie!

 vegan protein powder sample

Saturday evening, we headed in to DC for a cookout with some friends — my contribution was banana pudding which brought back tons of childhood memories! We had a great time hanging out on the back deck and playing with silly Baxter!

  banana pudding  oh baxter

On Sunday, I woke up earlier than normal and worked on a few projects. The first was Martha’s pita bread (it came with a nice photo tutorial).

how to - pita dough starter dough dough ball pitas before bakingbaked pita

We had unexpected company on Sunday night after an event at Citywide with Colt McCoy from the Redskins. Mom, Dad, Jaybird, and Tony Bologna joined us for homemade pita bread, fresh salad, hummus, and paprika shrimp (also Martha).

impromptu dinner party medi feast

Speaking of Jaybird — he texted me to say that he’d be showing up to my house in an “unrecognizable SUV” but I didn’t think he meant a freakin’ Benz! That kid is doing big things… I’m mostly proud and only slightly jealous!

jason new car

I roasted a bunch of eggplant on Sunday that I had frozen last month (Thanks to TJs/Mom and Dad). It turned out ok, but was a little watery due to the freezing process. This is my new lunch box/bento — it comes with an insulated sleeve that fits really nicely into my backpack.


On an unrelated note — I just put this in my calendar and I’m thinking about getting a HP tattoo. Nerd alert.


DC/VA Tattoo recommendations are welcome!

Pike Family Holiday Dinner 2014!

Oh neglected blog. I found this in my draft folder from December…oops! I always document the Pike Family Dinner but forgot to hit publish. Better late than never.

Another delicious Pike Family Holiday dinner in the books (I think this year makes number 7) ! It was just the G’s and us this year. S made a delicious spread of clams, mussels, potatoes, and chocolate brownie cake!



I didn’t take many pictures because I was too busy having fun and eating TONS of shellfish. I had to snap this cute one of Z and Maddie though :)





Previous Years:

Memorial Day Weekend // New Hampshire // Pictures Galore

Z and I spent a nice, long weekend up in New Hampshire. We were there to spend time with family and celebrate the high school graduation of the youngest cousin on Z’s side. Food, fun, family and fresh air!


(schilling beer co. // littleton, nh)




(morning view // cannon mountain)



(lonesome lake // franconia notch state park)



IMG_3572 IMG_3573


IMG_3900 IMG_3901

(vt beer // swordfish // asparagus // taters)

IMG_3907 IMG_3910


(poetry in the woods // the frost place)

IMG_3911 IMG_3912











(orange julius // snuggly kitty)


(holderness school // class of 2015)






(mr. tazo // pup extraordinaire)








(queen zoe // norfolk terrier)


(champagne-induced dance party // bells and bongos)



A memorial day note: I truly feel grateful to live in this country. I know that it comes at a price that many have paid. Being in New Hampshire, where the motto is “Live Free or Die”, I was reminded about the freedoms we take for granted. I know we have come a long way as a nation and we have far to go.  I am proud to be an American, proud to be a member of the human race, and proud to be a global citizen.

Thank you to all those who have lost their lives fighting for freedom and fighting for the future.



What’s happening on the farm this week?

Wearing: My favorite PJs and


this fun outfit:


Eating: GF Pasta, Salmon, and…


…my new favorite breakfast: this pan bread and one egg with coffee, OJ, and vitamins (more on those later)!


Drinking: KOMBUCHA! I love it and wish it wasn’t so $$$!


Baking: Granola!


Meal Planning:


Doing this week: babysitting (it got rescheduled :), working, Free Fro-Yo at Menchie’s, and going to this show at the 9:30 Club to support my friend’s band, Paperhaus 


Reading: My aunt’s book —  

Gina’s Dream


Planning: A mini-trip for my mom’s 60th birthday this month! Exciting!

Recipes I’m trying: Lemon Chia Almond Bites and Pineapple Coconut Frozen Yogurt

Blog I’m loving: Clean Food Dirty City


Turkey Run Park

The day after Christmas, we took a nice long walk/hike in Turkey Run Park which is located off the GW Parkway.

We took the pup and his cute hiking backpack!


It was nice to get out and get moving after a holiday season of lots of good food! Louis had a blast! His leash was fully extended the entire time! Our little adventure pup! If you’re in the area and like to explore, I would definitely recommend Turkey Run! It’s off the touristy-path, is really quiet, and runs right next to the Potomac River!

Quinoa and White Bean Veggie Burgers

I found a recipe for veggie burgers on last week and decided to make a whole bunch. Some for the week and some for the freezer. It was a pretty labor-intensive process, but it was good to know every ingredient that went in to the burgers.

Sautéed veggies.

DSC_0658 (2)DSC_0659 (2)

Blanched and shocked arugula.


2 cups of arugula made this little clump! Crazy!


I mixed together cooked quinoa, mashed white beans, GF breadcrumbs, and spices. Then I formed the patties and put them in the fridge to chill.


The pepper relish also took a lot of time because of the fine dice on the veggies, but it was colorful and tasty!



Overall, the burgers took a really long time and weren’t as tasty as I was hoping. I don’t know if it was a lack of fat or if it was missing some spices. I would definitely make veggie burgers again, just not this recipe.

Christmas 2014

We stayed local this Christmas to spend time with my family!

We had plenty of events and projects to keep us busy, including Baileys-infused marshmallows…


and egg nog drinking!


On Christmas Eve, we drove up to my parents house for dinner and presents before the 10pm church service. My mom said “we’re going to keep it simple and low-key” but it was anything but! We arrived to find filet mignon, lobster tail, scallops, sea bass, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, asparagus, veggies, and fried Mexi-egg rolls!



On Christmas Day, we had a long to-do list of cleaning, cooking, and re-arranging furniture!

We hosted the Crouch family Christmas for the first time this year! Exciting!


It was even more exciting because it was Carter’s first Christmas!


Shawn Amanda Carter

Z and Carter


Mom and Carter

We always do a pot-luck which makes it so much easier on everyone.

There was no shortage of food and definitely and over-abundances of desserts!


Somebody was wiped out after hosting!


Random note: How cool is this – I got TWO beautiful sun catchers for Christmas this year!


Excited for 2015!

Usher Farm Happenings–Week of Jan. 25, 2015

What’s happening on the farm today (and the rest of the week)? 

Here is what I/we are (verb)-ing:

Wearing:  Cozy and matchy-matchy! It’s cool but not cold today so I opted for warm clothes, but my TOMs with no socks (boo to socks!).  I took this picture right before I stepped out to go grocery shopping.


(Red Sweater: Old Navy; Boyfriend Jeans: Loft; Shoes: Vegan TOMs; Fitbit Charge; Fair Trade/Eco-Friendly Purse: freeset – this company uses warehouse space at Christian Service Mission in Alabama where my parents do a lot of service trips)

I’m also wearing my aprons – most of them have pockets for my camera lens! I wear aprons for cooking and washing dishes. Dishes never, ever end!


Eating: Lots of Honeybell oranges. Our annual gift from z’s parents came on Friday and we’ve already eaten 5!


I would blame my fruit-obsessed husband, but this is currently what I’m looking at:


Here are some other things we’ve been eating lately – 

Gluten free pasta with homemade sauce and marinated mozzarella

marinated mozz

Shrimp stir fry

head on shrimpshrimp stir fry

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Bread (it got a little out of control…)

gf bread2gf bread

These AMAZING coconut milk popsicles (minus the salted caramel)


Dinner last night was grilled coconut crusted tilapia, baked sweet potato, and a spinach salad with Honeybell orange and sun dried tomatoes


Cooking: Here are some of the things I’ll be cooking today and later this week for our meal plan:

Quinoa Veggie Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper Relish (I just finished making these and will cook some for dinner and freeze some for later. I’ll probably do another post on this process.)

Vegan Slow-Cooker Caramelized Onion Chili with Gluten Free Honey Cornbread

Asian Salmon in Foil with Rice and Veggies

Doing this week: Blogging, meal planning, babysitting M&M tomorrow, working a bunch, exercising (if I type it then I’ll do it, right?), have dinner with one of z’s coworkers and his wife, playing with Louis, etc.



Listening to: Lots of Sam Smith (non-stop since we saw him live), Taylor Swift (1989), and Superfruit – I just figured out how to make a playlist on iPhone, so I’ll be listening to a lot of these guys at the gym!

sam smith livesam smith2sam smith3

Reading: The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald – I just finished Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani  – both of which I loved.

Smelling: This new candle from Terri – perfect for tonight’s forecasted weather!

falling snow candle

Looking forward to: Garden planning!


Loving lately: Our new living room layout!


Loving this new dish towel that z gave me for Christmas:


Loving this new wall decal from my cousin – it’s in my ladies suite right under my mirror! It says “Music is the prayer the heart sings” – love it Smile


This post was super fun so you can expect some more posts like this…actually, please don’t expect them, just accept them if they ever come again!