I hope everyone is enjoying picnics and fireworks this weekend! How nice to have a three-day weekend with the family. We'll be going to a couple picnics to celebrate with our nation's independence this weekend.

I just got back from CA where I went to my brother, Bill's, wedding. Got to meet his wife, Melissa, for the first time in her wedding dress! She's gorgeous! And sweet, and most importantly, loves my brother to the end of the earth. It was a really beautiful wedding. Took place in an ocean-side garden in Half Moon Bay, CA.

I wish I had gotten more photos with my camera. I dutifully photographed the rest of the wedding with my brother's camera. ;)

Dad got this one of the sibs minus Trisha. We missed you Trish!

It was sad leaving all the boys behind. I missed them immensely. Sharing a room with Nan was wonderful though, and something I wouldn't trade. It was really special being able to spend that time with her. She is 90 after all!

We visited San Francisco on Friday and took in some sights. What we could see anyhow. It was pretty foggy, but also smokey from all the forest fires they were having out there. My favorite was having clam chowder at this place called Lou's. The. best. It rivaled any chowder I've ever had, and I've had a lot ~ living in New England for many years and all!

One of the souvenirs I not so luckily brought home was vertigo. :( Apparently from the flight I got it. We had a layover going there and back and the doctor thinks that all the changes in altitude/pressure, etc, messed with my equilibrium. Justin thinks I just don't travel well. Either way, I've been feeling like I'm walking sideways since returned home. Not fun! Hopefully it'll wear off soon.

Well I'm really glad to be home! Here are a few photos from the trip!

My friend Lisa started a neat idea on her blog "Out of the Blue" called Fresh Idea Friday. On the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month she's going to post a "Fresh Idea" on her blog and the idea is for all of us to share and then we'll all have no excuses to be out of fresh ideas! :) Love it!

This week's theme is appropriate: " a recipe that we love taking to a picnic"

Here's a recipe I love to bring to picnics. A little different, but everyone always seems to love it! Unless they're just being nice?

Pasta with Spinach, Ricotta, and Golden Raisins
12 ounces Rotini (or another fusilli-type pasta) (4 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 ounce package baby spinach
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup whole or part-skim ricotta
Kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and spinach and toss to wilt. Stir in the scallions, raisins, ricotta, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the basil.

Divide among individual bowls and top with the Parmesan and pine nuts, if using.