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We were out for dinner a few weeks ago and the topic of the lake came up, and “yes, the boat is in the water, and oh, the kids will love it, we MADE AN HERB GARDEN!” and suddenly we had 15 people planning to descend on our little home.

Which always makes me happy and gives us an excuse to use our 10+ beds (two rooms have bunks and trundles, please erase any mental pictures of a castle on a hill).

But the best part about hosting for a weekend is that I have every excuse needed to spend 2 days in the kitchen preparing food.

And of course, hunting and gathering at the Union Square Farmer’s market for some treats beforehand.

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When we got up to the lake on Friday evening, the kids were eager to check out the herb garden, which despite my black thumb, has grown more lush by the minute.

I realized quickly that animal-shaped watering cans are the key to child labor, and put them to work doing all of the weeding and watering while I oversaw the process with a glass of white in my hand.

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We’d just finished watering the herbs when storm clouds gathered above and drenched us with rain while the sun continued to set over the Appalachian trail. It was our first sun shower together, such a beautiful moment.

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On Saturday morning I woke up early to make our dessert for the evening, my signature banana pudding. Well, Magnolia Bakery’s signature banana pudding, but I’ve made it so many times that I feel a kinship with it, like we were meant to be together forever. And because the people who saw this picture posted to my social media accounts seemed to be astounded that you can make this at home (and because it’s too easy for words), I’m linking to the recipe right here.

We did eat some healthier foods too.

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And as promised, we spent some QT on the boat. Rodney forgot to lift the prop after our wake skating session so the water hosed down all of the little ones lucky enough to get a seat in the back.

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And my friend Irene snapped this father & son pic that I just adore.

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After a requisite sunset of wine and salt & vinegar chips, we feasted on pork carnitas tacos and slammed down some banana pudding for dessert.

Our guests left on Sunday, leaving us with the slightly depressing vibe of an empty post-chaos house, but we made do by once again tending to the herb garden.

Lauren sneaked a few cups up to the deck and, characteristically, made herb clippings into art, arranging this way and that until she was happy with the end result.

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And what else to do with that mountain of herbs but to eat them. Although I wouldn’t have thought to eat rosemary and thyme in their uncooked state, her suggestion of an 11-herb tomato salad was pure genius.

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Hope everyone had a great (warm/sunny/perfect) weekend as well.

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