It doesn't take much to make me happy

I know you will get tired of hearing me say this but the weather was perfect this weekend. Highs in the upper 70's and low humidity. I detest the Summer heat in the South but I do love the mild winters and gorgeous Spring. Saturday morning Travis stayed in to get some studying done and I hit my favorite trail for a 7 mile hike. About halfway through I came across a sign that devastated me - my favorite portion of the trail will be closed off for maintenance for 60 days! I'm not exaggerating that my heart sank. Anytime I'm stressed or upset I'll go to this trail and immediately feel 100% better. When I was away at Yoga training for 3 weeks I was almost as excited to come back to these woods as I was to see Travis and the cats. There's just something about them that feels like home to me. By the time the trails are open again it will be ridiculously hot out, and by the time it cools off we'll be moving away. I'm glad I decided to go hiking there this weekend so I was able to get one more trip in. 4weekend3

When I was in high school my friend and I would spend all day Saturday at the beach, and somehow it became tradition that we'd make a huge batch of spaghetti with meat sauce for dinner that night. While on the hike that memory came to me so this happened Saturday night (with Morningstar 'beef'.) I put about 2-3 servings of spaghetti on that plate and ate it all. My stomach hurt so bad but my heart was so happy. 4weekend1

That night I spent the evening reading and drinking pink lemonade on our patio. We've been putting birdseed out every other day and the birds go crazy. We just throw it straight onto the grass and after a light rain the other day we had 30+ birds (I actually counted) and about 5+ species gobbling it all up. A few bluebirds came and hung out with me Saturday night. It was perfect. 4weekend2

Sunday morning I went on a 4 mile run and saw the teeny bit of Fall colors left. 4weekendThat afternoon Travis and I went shopping and finally picked up a grill and ordered a patio dining set (should be here Thursday!) We've been talking about getting both items for months now. I cannot wait for the dining set to get here! It's super comfortable, the perfect size, and it will be so great to be able to eat, work, craft, and relax outside.

Last night we fired up the grill for the first time, which of course I had to immortalize with a photo.

4weekend5We thought a lot about whether to go with gas or charcoal, and ultimately charcoal won out mostly because I love the smell of it and it makes food taste so amazing! Every time I go to my parents for dinner if they are BBQing I request Mom's amazing marinated veggies. She sent me the recipe last week and I copied her instructions exactly, but of course mine didn't turn out quite as good as hers.

4weekend4They were still delicious. I was eating the veggies raw as I was putting them on the skewer. The marinade is soy sauce, olive oil, orange (or pineapple) juice, ginger and garlic. She lets hers marinate all day, but I only had about 2 hours on mine. One of the skewers got burned pretty badly, but the rest were perfect. We're planning to grill out again next weekend once we have a gorgeous table to enjoy it on.

Living in small town Alabama has been a nice change of pace. There are no Jones's to keep up with here. With the weather warming up if you go to Walmart on the weekend you'll see families grabbing BBQ supplies, beer and junk food gearing up for spending a day hanging out by the river. I realized the other day I could spend nearly every weekend like that and be totally content in life. My income has probably doubled from what it was when I first graduated grad school but my spending hasn't increased at all (since I was going out a few nights a week then it's probably decreased!) I hate shopping, I'm a complete minimalist when it comes to 'stuff' (aside from my every expanding library), and virtually every activity at the top of my favorite lists is cheap to free. Hiking, walking, eating outside, exploring new woods, reading. I'll admit my dream car is still a Benz, but one day I'll be getting into that Benz with my $15 purse and wearing my favorite dilapidated pair of Old Navy jeans.

Have any favorite vegetarian BBQ recipes?

How was your weekend?