Wednesday, August 31, 2011

#3: Ride My Bike

And by bike I mean this beast (see below), or as I like to call her "RoadMaster" (you'd be able to read that on the frame if my sweet helmet wasn't blocking the view). Me and Roadmaster have been together for a while now, I'd say since, oh...1992? 1993? My parents were big proponents of teaching me the value of a dollar by having me save up my own money to buy things that I wanted, and Roadmaster was one of those things. I scrimped and I saved (Christmas and birthday money from relatives, of course) and bought her all by myself. A proud moment for little Danne, let me tell you...

While Roadmaster got plenty of use in my middle school days, she's spent most of her time since then never seeing the light of day, being schlepped around from garage to garage every time I've moved. Summer bucket list to the rescue! Last Friday I decided to take her out for a spin to take care of #3 on my list: Ride My Bike. Since city biking makes me a little (a lot) nervous, I wasn't really sure where to go until the universe pointed me here: The Watertown Greenway.

Seriously, Watertown, you never cease to amaze me. First the Deluxe Town Diner, then Underground Studios, and now this? The internet didn't offer me too much information when I tried to get the greenway scoop, but from what I can tell, 1.) It's new, 2.) It connects to the Charles and Fresh Pond, and 3.) It's on the old MBTA tracks that used to belong to the A branch (yes, it's true! ever wonder why there isn't an A line when there's a B, C, D, and an E? There was until 1969 and it went all the way to Watertown yard!).

Since a portion of the greenway picks up a few blocks from my house, I decided to dust Roadmater off, pump her (tires) up, and take her out on the town–Watertown that is. I wish I could say that we had a glorious reunion ride together, but it wasn't quite as majestic as I had envisioned. While it was fun overall, the air that was rapidly escaping from my 10-year-old tires, and the 2% incline on the trail really made for a lot more physical exertion than I was bargaining for. After I trudged home on flat bike tires, and collapsed with exhaustion onto my couch, I decided that maybe Roadmaster had made her final journey. Although it'll be sad to see her go, I think it's time. Alas, every good thing comes to an end, just like summer I suppose...

Next Up: My summer bucket list conclusion and the introduction of my brand new lent for September. Stay tuned and enjoy these last few beautiful weeks of summer weather.

Friday, August 26, 2011

#19: Pick Berries and Make Jam

After last summer's foray into the art of jam making (I made batches of strawberry, peach, and blueberry, mmmm...), I vowed to make canning my own a summer tradition. Making your own jam is definitely one of those things that you think only kitchen connoisseurs can take on, but it's a whole lot easier and less time consuming than you think—really, anyone can do it.

I use this super simple recipe that I found guessed it: Two Blue Lemons. It only uses 3 ingredients (fruit, sugar, lemon), and takes under an hour to make. Check it out here if you're interested in trying your own batch.

Although my bucket list specified that I had to pick the berries myself, I just wasn't able to fit a berry picking trip into my schedule this week, so I decided to settle for the next best thing: the farmers market. I picked up some lovely pints of strawberries and yellow raspberries, mixed them with some blueberries that I already had in my fridge, and voilà, my lovely batch of tri-berry jam was born (which didn't quite full up the entire ball jar, whoops!).

Next up: My bike journey on the Watertown Greenway (who knew that existed?!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Irene, We Need to Talk...

Excuse me, Irene? I really don't have time for this. You see, I'm on a tight deadline here and I really need to go night swimming, take a roll of film, go to the Wellfleet Drive-In, run through a sprinkler, and make a sandcastle this weekend—none of which are fun in hurricane conditions. Sorry for the short notice, but I'm thinking that your visit just isn't going to work out after all.

Image from

Looks like I'll be working on sewing my sundress all weekend instead of doing all the fun things that I had planned, boooo. Maybe I'll at least be able to catch a little bit of Saint Anthony's Feast in the North End so I can wish for a sewing miracle...

Monday, August 22, 2011

#17: Pack a Picnic, #20: Play a Game of Badminton and #25: Fly a Kite

There's only about a week and a half left of my summer bucket list challenge and I'm definitely scrambling to get as many things crossed off as I can. I have a busy week of summer fun ahead of me indeed, but here's what I managed to accomplish in the last few days:

On Sunday, Dan and I met Marissa and her friend Kate at the beach where we took care of #17: Pack a Picnic, and dined on a tasty lunch of pesto tortellini salad, strawberries, granola bars, and cream soda, mmmmm...

After our picnic, it was time for my jazzy homemade kite to make it's debut—and boy did it! Quickly nicknamed "Zippy", this little devil not only flew, but maniacally darted through the air in nauseating patterns. Totally Awesome. I'll post instructions on how to make your very own Zippy below, it's well worth the effort...

Me and Zippy

Zippy was the first kite that Marissa had ever flown, yay Zippy!

I topped off the weekend's spree of summer activities tonight by playing a fierce game of badminton with Dan on the elementary school lawn across from our house. My new $9.99 set from Target didn't disappoint, and it'll certainly make a few more appearances before cold weather season arrives (although who said you can't play badminton in the house?).

Homemade Plastic Bag Kite
From Whole Living Magazine

1. Cut a bag in half on the side seam and then into an elongated diamond. Lay thin dowels in a T, tape to bag, and tape and trim ends.

2. Cut and tape 3 streaming tails (the length of the kite) to the underside.

3. Tape a small triangle (the bridle) to the other side; poke fishing line through its loose tip; knot to secure.

4. You're ready to fly!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

UPDATE: #22: Try Something New From the Farmers Market and #25: Fly a Kite

#22: A follow-up on the cranberry beans, my "new" purchase from the farmers market last week. I looked around a little bit online and found this site, The Heart of New England, which has some great tips for preparing them. I chose to boil them and serve at room temperature with olive oil, lemon, fresh parsley, and black pepper. The verdict?

DELICIOUS! Um seriously, I was spoon-feeding myself beans like they were vodka soaked gummy bears (my new favorite alcohol saturated snack that I tried at Jocelyn's Jersey Shore party a few weeks ago). Really though, I'm not sure how long they're in season for, but definitely pick some up if you get the chance, I couldn't believe how delicious they were.

#25: I finally got around to making my kite tonight so I can get #25 crossed off the list this weekend. I have to say that I put in some serious effort and it definitely looks like a third grader made it (feel free to laugh out loud, I know I did haha).

Hopefully I'll be posting photos of it majestically soaring through the air in the next few days...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

#27: Go to the Fair

When I was a little girl, my parents would tuck me in each night and ask me what I wanted to talk about before bed. No matter what time of year it was, the answer was always the same: the fair. Even in the depths of winter, my mom and dad were forced to recount every single detail of this childhood wonderland to me as I lay in bed, drifting off into a blissful, fair-filled slumber.

For my friends and I, the annual Barnstable County Fair was the event of the summer, if not the whole year. Cotton candy, fried dough, rides that made your stomach turn, tents full of awesome stuff (total junk) to buy, crafts galore (hello sand art and your name on a grain of rice), face painting, pony rides, barns full of baby I need to go on? It was pure heaven.

Although it'll never be as exciting to me as it was when I was 7, going to the county fair is definitely a summertime essential, so I made sure it had a spot on my bucket list. Since I couldn't make it down for the fair in my hometown (I think I had some sort of wedding related something that weekend, surprise surprise), I found a Groupon for the Bolton County Fair and decided to check it out. I'll let the photos speak for themselves, but it was a lot of fun and exactly how I remembered it (I think these things are essentially the same in every town in America).

Sorry Fanne, no pets allowed

Dan and Mister Baby Goat

Piglets! Awwwwwwww

The world champion "LumberJills" in the middle of a heated log rolling competition

The prize winning vegetables

Blue ribbon apple pie mmmm...

The fair's best corn

Some things never change

Best fair food ever: "Mister Kielbaski" haha

Both were delicious

Dan trying his luck

We got these great stickers from the local cheese vendor

And what trip to the fair is complete without going on a ride? Definitely almost hurled on the kid next to me but it was totally worth it

Thanks Bolton Fair!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

#22: Try Something New From the Farmers Market

I made a trip over to the Davis Square farmers market on my lunch break today to cross #22 off my bucket list: Try something new from the farmers market. Like a lot of people do, I tend to get stuck in my ways when it comes to buying produce, and because of this, a lot of the more uncommon veggie varieties never make their way to my table. It's not that I'm a stickler for the tried and true, it's more that I just don't know what to do with some of the "exotic" varieties of my old favorites. I put my excuses aside today though, and let lent pull me out of my produce slump. Here's what I came home with:

1. Cranberry beans, what?! Who knows what to do with these?
2. A new (to me) variety of zucchini (the exact name seems to have escaped me, Farmer Jess?)
3. A golden beet, mmmm...

I didn't have a chance to cook up any of them tonight, but I'll be sure to update in the next few days when I have a verdict.

Bon Appétit!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I'm back, and I'm Still Bucket Listing!

Hello! My apologies for the lack of new posts over these past few weeks, but I moved, and as I'm sure you can understand (especially those of you who are my age and have moved countless times over the past decade), it sort of takes over your life for a little while. The good news is that the craziness is starting to die down and I'm ready to pick up where I left off: the Summer Bucket List.

Although I made good progress in June and July, I've still got a bunch of things to cross off in August. Here's what's left:

-Ride my bike
-Sleep outside
-Blow the seeds off a dandelion
-Catch a fish
-Sew my own sundress (in progress)
-Go for a canoe ride
-Go to a Sox game
-Go night swimming
-Pack a picnic
-Pick berries and make jam
-Play a game of badminton
-Try something new from the farmer's market
-Fly a kite
-Take a roll of film
-Go to the fair (next weekend, Groupon purchased!)
-Go to the Wellfleet Drive-In
-Run through a sprinkler (my new house has one, YES!)
-Make a sandcastle

Time to get crackin'

And on a side note, I love, love, love my new apartment. Although it has a million features that I could ramble on about, the best part about it is that the ice cream man comes down my street EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's like the universe reads my blog or it.