Monday, July 16, 2012

Not-so-lazy summer days...

The summer days are so quickly coming and going. We have been here, there, and everywhere, and had an abundance of here is a recap of what's been going on at the Belsan house...

First off, some beautiful flowers Tim got for me at the Farmer's Market near the National Archives!

We love visitors to DC! In the middle of June, I met up with my friend Abigail, from the Kanakuk Institute. She was visiting her boyfriend, Chris, who lives in Pennsylvania, and they were in town to visit his sister and brother-in-law who live in DC. We met up with them for coffee at Firehook in Eastern Market. It was such a fun morning, filled with chatting, coffee, and meandering around the Market.

At the end of June, I was able to take a long weekend and travel back to Kansas visit my family and to see my new little "niece." More on this little sweetie later!

Driving to Sabetha, Kansas...looks MUCH different than northern Virginia or DC!

I spend the first few days in Sabetha at my parent's house. The longer I am away, the more I realize how much I love visiting. The first thing that always comes to mind is, "'s so peaceful and quiet here!" It really is a serene place. I spent much of my time with my mom in the garden I covet...seriously, she has it all (herbs, beets, kale, spinach, onions, carrots, squash, asparagus, brussel sprouts, plump and tart blueberries, delectable plums...mmm) and I'm so jealous of how much I have to pay for all that at the farmer's market or the organic store! Check out our lunch of roasted vegetables, all "FTG" (from the garden) as my mom likes to say.

And for all my DC friends who always wonder what my part of Kansas is like, here you go!

My mom and I had a great time drinking coffee and just chatting about life. The older I get, the more I realize how wise she is, what a prayer warrior she is, and how I will never be like her, though I strive to!

On Thursday afternoon, I went to see my Grandpa Hank. We had a great time telling stories and reminiscing  about old times. I brought him a chocolate milkshake and he couldn't get enough of it!

I also got to see my sweet cousins, Livie, Andrew, Tyse, and Jack. They are so precious and I miss watching them grow up!

Jack and me!

On Friday, I met up with Renee, my best friend from high school...we actually became friends in 4th grade, so we are coming up on something like 17 years of friendship. She lives in Colorado and I haven't seen her since my wedding. It was such a treat that we both had trips scheduled to our home town on the same weekend! We spent three hours at "El Canelo" catching up on life, love, and other mysteries. :)

Friday night, I headed to Topeka to finally meet little Grace. As I referred to earlier, my dear friend Lauren had her baby, Grace Arianna, on June 13 and I could hardly wait to get back to love on the little sweetheart! She is so precious! Kristin and Tim arrived late on Friday night and we stayed up chatting and doing some last minute detail plannings for Lauren's Bridal shower on Saturday. She is getting married to Scott in August...I'm so excited!

Beautiful little Grace!


The sisters I never had!

Now back to life in Virginia...
News Flash for all you Old Town Happy Hour seekers...Tim and I have found a new favorite happy hour spot in Old Town. For anyone in the NOVA/DC area, I highly suggest La Tasca's sangria and tapas menu. There are several to choose from and they are all so tasty!

One thing I love about living in this area is the plethora of locally grown foods. I especially love visiting the Farmer's Market in Old Town. I just soak up the atmosphere, talking with the farmers, and tasting the pure delight of fresh produce!

A few weekends ago, we had a terrible storm. I'm sure you heard all about it on the news, as the DC area was in a state of disaster. It was pretty terrifying! Friday night, Tim and I were out on our balcony and the air was eerily still. Not even ten minutes later, the wind was so ferocious, the trees were almost touching the ground. We were fortunate enough to only lose power for about 10 minutes...but many of our friends were not.

Falls Church, VA was one of the worst areas hit.
Thanks to my friend Phil for this photo.

I found out just how bad the storm was when I tried to go to Starr's house on Saturday...a trip that normally takes 15-20 minutes took over an hour. Let me paint the picture for you: every single stoplight was out, so the intersections were treated as a 4-way stop (side note: people do not understand how to utilize 4-way stops). My phone was not working. No calls, no texts, no internet, no GPS. Meaning when the two ways I knew how to get to Starr's house were both closed, I was sunk. I also didn't know how to get to Swain's Lock, where Starr and I were to pick up Tim and Steven from their morning 16-mile run. Let's just say I was a little stressed!

 A photo Tim took from their run on the C&O canal.
Yes, that trail is supposed to be clear!

Several hours later when we finally found our husbands, we celebrated by going to Founding Farmers...which had sporadic power but enough to cook our delicious lunches! I had the Vegan Bacon Burger again, and Tim had the Bananas Foster Stuffed French Toast. MMmmm!

After lunch, we discovered that Steven, Starr, Gracie, and Scott did not have power. We invited them to our house and they brought some of their fridge and freezer contents. It's pretty amazing how much stuff you can cram in a fridge and freezer when you have to! They stayed all weekend, along with their dogs, Mika and Pancakes. It was a great excuse for a slumber party...except we had to keep watching the dogs because Mika thought Pancakes was a squirrel and tried to eat her. :)

Just hanging out...

A trip to our pool provided some entertainment on Sunday afternoon.

Luckily, our friends got power on Monday, however it was several more days before everyone in the DC area had power.

Let's take a break from the happenings...time for some "featured foods and finds" I have tried and loved:

Teriyaki Chickpea Stirfry, from Mama Pea

Whole Foods Veggie Burger 
Dill & Rosemary Roasted Vegetables
I used a veggie burger recipe from a Whole Foods cooking class and added a special sauce made of Sriracha, Veganaise, and lime juice. I roasted the veggies with herbs, spices, and olive oil.

Summer Salad 
I crave this all year round, but especially in the winter!

Sidamo Ethiopian Coffee on H Street, DC
SO delicious!

Five Guys Burgers, Fries, and
...the peanuts
Yes, people, you read that right. I was with some friends on the Fourth of July, who were waiting for their burgers and I happened upon these peanuts. I annihilated my bag. I can't believe it took me this long to discover these delicious treat!

Carrot cake cupcakes at Lauren's shower
The flowers on top are made from dried pineapples, a Pinterest find from Kristin

Last weekend, Alexandria celebrated its 263rd birthday and America's 236th birthday. Tim and I braved the intense heat and went down to Oronoco Bay in Old Town to join in the fun.

The streets of Old Town have so much character, like this tree.

Cupcakes galore!

Alexandria's Symphony Orchestra in sync with the fireworks

This past week, Tim's family came to visit. They planned a full two weeks of touring, some of which we've had the opportunity to tag along for (when we're not working of course).  Stay tuned for more on that in my next post!

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