Posted by: Lauren | September 7, 2010

labor day weekend part 1

I’m so behind with this blog, as usual, but I’ll start with the most recent: Labor Day weekend part 1: Friday and Saturday.

Friday afternoon I stopped by my parents to drop off/pick up a few things and made my way through their backyard to grab some produce from the garden. Thanks for the free food, Mom and Dad! 🙂


Butternut squash coming out of the garden and below is my loot. There was MUCH MORE where that came from…but that was on Monday, so I won’t get ahead of myself.


Oh I love how pretty that darn weed is, but I never knew until the other day that it’s what gives us hayfever! Could you imagine if I snipped some off to bring in the house?!


Rotten apples



One lonely apple on a sad, dead tree.

But this was certainly alive!


When I was in my parents’ basement I came across a box of My Littlest Kitchen! Gosh, I LOVED this stuff! Seriously, not much has changed. See that taco? I made that out of clay and it’s still held together! It’s the little things in life, people. No pun intended.


While I was leaving I saw a box for me and Joe from my Aunt Margaret and Uncle Jim. They came in town last weekend and we had them over for dinner and Aunt Margaret was so sweet to give us a gift when she went to Cocoon later that weekend. How did she know it is one of my favorite stores? 😉


IMG_4182  When I read that card I seriously started to tear up. I don’t know, Rufus was playing in my car, it was a beautiful statement…call me emotional.

IMG_4184 IMG_4183

The candle smells amazing. Thank you again, you two!!

Later that evening, Sam and Katie came over for dinner and to hang out. I cooked up something you’ve seen on here a lot over the past year: organic hamburgers with caramelized onions. I also made rosemary potatoes and Caprese salad. Easy, filling, delish.


Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 sprigs rosemary (from my herb pot!)
  • ~1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and cut potatoes into bite sized pieces and place on a PARCHMENT COVERED baking sheet*. Finely chop the rosemary, sprinkle on potatoes as well as some shakes of sea salt and some olive oil. Toss potatoes to coat evenly. Bake for about 35 minutes, flipping halfway. (Make sure they are easily pierced with a fork, later that weekend I made some more roasted potatoes in my sister’s oven and they weren’t cooked enough!)

*Guys, I just now discovered the wonder that is parchment paper. No matter how much olive oil I would use, my potatoes would stick to my baking sheet. Enter parchment paper. No more sticking. Woo hoo! But don’t confuse it with wax paper, that would melt and burn and ruin your dinner party.


Perfect tomatoes from the garden



We also ate lots of chips and homemade salsa. This was my second batch, but I didn’t change it much.


Homemade Salsa with Fresh Corn

  • Fresh tomatoes-about 2 cups of tomatoes (I used a mix of grape and plum I think), some knife chopped and some pulsed in the food processor so you don’t get total tomato liquid
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno thrown in the food processor (if you like it spicy!)
  • Big handful of cilantro-in food processor
  • Juice of one lime
  • Maybe 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Dash of cumin
  • Splash of apple cider vinegar
  • Raw corn kernels (optional)

Chop tomatoes and onion. Pulse the other half the tomatoes with the remaining ingredients except corn. Toss together in a medium bowl. Enjoy!

I ate copious amounts of tortilla chips and salsa so I wasn’t hungry when dinner time came around. Yet I managed to eat 4x that serving of potatoes that you see. Funny how that happens…


Burgers are just: 1 lb. organic ground beef, salt, pepper, dried minced onion, and garlic powder.

Onions sauteed on low in a little olive oil:


After dinner Katie and I went on a walk while the boys played video games and then we watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid which was HILARIOUS! I kid you not, we were all dying laughing. I was so skeptical to watch it but oh man, we thought it was so funny we bought it. So, if you like to laugh, go rent it and watch it with people who will laugh with you.

Saturday was a perfect fall-like September day. Joe and I woke up to the sun shining and a perfect coolness in the air. After getting showered and ready for a fun day, I brewed some homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee.


All I did was add a dash of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon to the coffee grounds before they brewed-no artificial flavors and all the warm and fuzzy smells and tastes that you associate with pumpkin coffee.


My pumpkin colored mug on the left, Joe B Joe’s on the right (with 1% organic and stevia).

IMG_4201This boy loves fall. 🙂

I whipped us up a pot of oatmeal a la KERF with:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup 1% organic milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • pinch salt

After stirring and cooked until creamy and delicious, I added:

  • glug of pure vanilla extract
  • good shake of cinnamon

Topped with:

  • sliced banana (1/2 for each of us)
  • giant scoop of organic peanut butter for him, crunchy Barney Butter for me




Sat outside to eat our oatmeal and read some awesome verses from Galatians. Guys, is this how perfect-seeming my life normally is? Um. BIG no. But, man, I’m so grateful for mornings like this and for God’s amazing grace for us. We are lost without it.

We packed up our things to head out. First stop: Katie and Sam’s. Joe’s sister Lora came over with Madelyn and we hung out while the boys ran to Lowe’s and us gals worked on a little project (to be shown later).


I love my families and love that Joe’s family is family with my family. Does that make sense? Yes.

Then, Katie, Sam, Joe and me headed to our sister-in-law, Sara’s horse show.



Ella is so adorable! We all love her so much! (She is my brother’s niece.)



Katie, Claire, Momma G/Sandy

I also love that my brother’s in-laws are our family too. Seriously, it’s ridiculous how blessed we are with amazing family.


Sadly, some of the events were cancelled so Sara got bumped up earlier and we didn’t get to see her ride. But it was still a fun day!


IMG_4246  My brother captured this moment. Oh that Doug is so scandalous.


That evening we hung out at Katie and Sam’s and this time they cooked us dinner. It was delish!

Joe and I have a hard time getting a picture…


IMG_4264 Sam’s deer brat which are so stinking awesome and I’m not even a huge meat person. I like these so much I didn’t share my last few bites with Joe! How mean am I?! Funny story: I placed the brat on my plate and when I was getting something it rolled off and onto the floor. I’m kind of a germaphobe, but I rinsed it off, wiped it off and called it good. It was. 

Katie made this really flavorful corn and black bean salad. Don’t have the recipe though. The spinach salad was topped with Angela’s balsamic that I eat practically every other day. Roasted potatoes were covered in various seasons like garlic powder, salt, pepper, and minced onion. After dinner we walked to their town’s festival that was going on and came back and chilled.

More fun recaps to come! I hope you all had a WONDERFUL weekend with those you love. Any fun things to share? New recipes I need to try? Share! I love it when you guys do!

“For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not one of those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.” Galatians 2:19-21







  1. aww good times….i could go for another brat. sadders I didn’t try your salsa.

  2. Fun times! Our old saying, “Good food, good mood!” needs to be amended to “Good family, good food, good mood.”

  3. Hello long lost bloggie buddy!! Looks like you had a great weekend

  4. So trying the salsa recipe! Looks delish!

    • Hope you enjoy it, Nichole!

  5. Take me back to Princessland!! I miss you guys so much….I know I’ve only ever seen you for 2 days haha.

    So much good food and good times.

    • For real, Allie! I totally understand! Did I tell you there is a bakery opening up in Elburn?! Has your name written all over it…

  6. Hey Lauren! Love love LOVE your beautiful pictures!!!

    • Thanks Wendy!

  7. Wow! What an awesome, Fall weekend…….beautiful people (three of whom are wearing purple, a great Fall color), wonderful gatherings, horses, great food! I love Gwen’s new motto! Wow, what blessings. I’m SO HAPPY I get to share in all of it from afar! The beach was glorious! Oh, we had a wonderful lunch yesterday and I thought of you. This restaurant makes all of their own sauces for their food, including their own mustard, bbq sauce, chipotle reumalade (spelling?) for fried green tomatoes, and their own wing sauce! They also make all fo their own beer and I tasted pear in it (kinda like you tasting the pineapple). Tell Kiks I’m coming over for dinner! Mmmmm…her din-din looks DELISH!!! We love bratwurst so we’d be all over that. Funny that it rolled off your plate (like that meatball song). We love you!

    • Aunt Sharon, I’m SO glad you guys enjoyed the beach and that the weather was great! I wish I could’ve eaten at that restaurant with you! Was it on the water? Mmmm love fried green tomatoes! I’d be in for the beer tasting too! haha the meatball song! Love you!

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