Two Lives, One Lifestyle

The Cottage by Katie
July 2, 2010, 1:51 pm
Filed under: Family, Holidays, Home, Katie

Every year for my whole life, and some of my mom’s childhood as well, we’ve gone to “The Cottage” for the 4th of July weekend.  My mom’s childhood friend Mary is one of 9 kids.  Mary’s parents built the cottage on Lake Ontario many years ago and every year, her whole family comes, plus our family, and my Aunt Laurie and her family, and tons of friends.  Since we clearly can’t fit everyone in the cottage, we bring tents.


(I love the sun set reflecting on the tree branches.)


As kids, we played all day- swimming, softball, capture the flag, board games, everything.  Now we still play a lot but also appreciate the vacation time and some adult beverages.


I’ve missed a 4th at the cottage twice before: once I was in Ireland and it barely phased me. The next time I was in Boulder for a research internship and cried when everyone called me.  This year, I’m currently unemployed/ job-hunting and figured the $400 plane ticket wasn’t my best financial decision.


The first night, adults get to go out to dinner.  Once we were finally 21, my cousin Sean and Mary’s son (practically a cousin) Alex got to join in.  Usually Caitlin is a part of this fab group but I don’t know where she was here. All of our birthdays are within in a few months.

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It’s nothing too fancy but the distinction of “kid” and “adult” is always significant, right?

The next few days are filled with relaxation and sun and softball.  And guitar playing and trampoline jumping. Except for the times when there are micro-bursts (mini lake hurricanes).

Tent trying to stand up to the wind.


Some nicer days.


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And water balloon launching..

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I used to work at a restaurant on the lake and people are constantly calling it the ocean.  We can’t see across to Canada of course, but really? You’re in upstate NY!

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Later in the day, we gather at the “Ring of Fire.”  As you can see, it’s an intense fire of citronella candles.

By day (I swear my step-sister Pix isn’t even drinking there, but she looks totally hung-over).

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The Ring of Fire involves sitting in a circle for hours to chat and sip beverages, sing (which always comes down to Irish drinking songs late at night), and generally have fun.

And by night:

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“Oh Bobbayyyy”



I literally have hundreds of sunset pictures from the cottage.  Another great nighttime pastime.



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Hi, Canada!

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If it’s not too windy, we’ll have a beach campfire.

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This is what happens much later; afterhours at the campfire.

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On whichever day we officially celebrate the fourth, there are even more traditions.

I never thought to take a picture of the food table in the past, but everyone brings a dish to pass and then the regular grilling items are grilled.  There are at least 20 or 30 different foods and desserts to choose from so you better choose wisely.

Later, the cottage-next-door sets up an ice cream sundae making station. There is always a nice tape of cheesy American tunes going too.

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And once the sun goes down, the fireworks begin.

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And then more quality family and friend time.

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I’m going to walk away from my computer now because I’m about to make a really bad impulse purchase.

Do you have any traditions you just hate to miss?  I never realized how strong my attachment was to all the family fun until I moved far away!

So Fresh and So Green by Katie
July 2, 2010, 11:52 am
Filed under: Katie, Salad

I love the simplicity of summer meals- they don’t need much work because the ingredients are fresh and flavorful.  Take caprese for example, especially since any semblance of a veg garden usually has the basics of tomato and basil.

Slice a tomato, add salt and pepper.  Top the tomato with thin slices of mozzarella. Tear up fresh basil and throw it on top (then smell the delicious basil fragrance on your hands). Drizzle with oil and balsamic.

Done and done.