We've been home from our vacation for a few days now and we're still trying to get the hang of day to day life again. We had a fabulous time in North Carolina with Chris's side of the family. We don't get to see them nearly enough and we always have such a blast together relaxing on the beach, playing cards, and enjoying meals. This trip was especially nice because they rented a big house on Kure beach where we could all stay together.
As I mentioned in my last post, we decided to drive to the coast for a few reasons. We saved a lot of money driving rather than flying; we were able to bring all kinds of things we wanted to have with us, like our stroller and highchair; Susanna does really well in the car; and we actually enjoy seeing the country this way. Perhaps the best reason to have driven, though, was that we got to spend a night on each end of the trip with my sweet cousin Paige, her husband Matt, and their daughter Evey Faye in Tennessee. Paige and I have so much in common, including the fact that our daughters were born just a couple of months apart. Susanna and Evey played hard and so did the rest of us!
To thank Paige and Matt for being such generous hosts -- they provided a super comfy room, four delicious meals, a boat ride on the Tennessee River, and great conversation -- I put together a really simple gift basket for them.
For a vessel I used a handmade basket purchased a couple of years ago at the Portland Farmer's Market. I made a batch of homemade granola and poured it into a clean olive jar after removing its label and painting its lid with craft paint. I raided my preserves pantry for strawberry jam and kosher dill pickles, then rounded out the basket with some artisan pasta from a local company that sells at our farmer's market, a cute tea towel from Home Goods, and a fun card from Hammerpress. This is my go-to formula when putting together a gift basket: mostly homemade stuff, a couple of repurposed items, and one or two newly purchased treats. It's an inexpensive, thoughtful way to say thank you.
I have a couple of great recipe posts coming up, including Pesto Two Ways and some utterly delicious "Lime in the Coconut" Petit Fours. Until then, here are some photos from our trip and a list of some of my favorite moments.
Left to RIght, Top to Bottom: lunch at a rest stop, Susanna and Evey sharing a pacifier, crab and pork belly tacos, albino alligator, Susanna and green turtle, Susanna navigating a tunnel, three fun beach shots, another tasty lunch, Paige and family, our little family on the Tennessee River
- Driving through the Great Smokey Mountains
- Visiting the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
- Watching my baby play in the sand and run for the ocean
- Winning a family Texas Hold 'em tournament
- Listening to the waves from our balcony at night
- Boating on the river
- Eating two great lunches in Asheville, NC (White Duck Taco Shop and Asheville Sandwich Company)
- Spending quality time with family -- number one!