Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's Birthday Season

This weekend my dear husband had his 39th birthday.  For his birthday dinner, I made him chicken legs, brown rice with diced celery and carrots and baked sweet potato chips. For dessert, he doesn't have much of a sweet tooth. In years past, I have made him cakes and he would take one or two bites and be done. So this year for his "cake" he wanted his favorite cookies: gingerbread cookies and peanut butter cookies. I made him both of them and then stacked them for the "cake" look.

I left it unattended for ten minutes while I went to go switch out laundry and by the time I got back, there was one cookie missing from the bottom. (grrr) My elderly father-in-law has very sticky fingers when it comes to cookies or sweets. I told my dear husband about it, and all we could do was laugh.

Happy 39th Dear Husband. Prost to the ones to come!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pinterest inspires

Well, as you may know, I nanny a now four-year-old kid (He gets very upset if I call him a little boy!) Each year when birthdays or special holidays come around, I rack my brain trying to figure out a good gift for him to make for his parents. I have been eyeing this project for a while and keeping it in my mental files so that I may use it for one of the upcoming present giving opportunities. Well, the time has come. The four-year-olds mother is having a birthday and this is what she will receive.

Melted crayon art.
The silhouette is actually of the 4-year-old holding his mommy's umbrella. 

I also wanted to share some of our other past projects. Sorry the photos are not great, but it will give you an idea. We do have a lot of fun with projects.  I love to do them, but it can be hard to come up with new fun things that will make the parents happy, which is why I love Pinterest. So many fun and amazing ideas that are shared and inspire me.

A foot print butterfly for mother's day.

A hand printed baseball cap for father's day.

A handprint tree for father's birthday.

I hope that you too become inspired to create something. Can't wait for the next project!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

2nd Wedding Anniversary - Cotton

We have been so blessed this past year. Good health. Good Job. A roof over our head. Food on the table every day. And good friends and family watching out for us. This year, we celebrated our 2nd Wedding Anniversary on Whidbey Island. We stayed at a beautiful vacation rental across the street from the ocean. It is a great location to whatever touristy thing you could or would want to do. We relaxed a lot, slept in late, cooked at the house so we didn't have to worry about what restaurant to go to and just enjoyed being together, alone with nothing that we had to do if we didn't want to. It was a really relaxing and nice vacation.
We did venture out a few times. We went to downtown Coupeville and walked through the shops. We also stopped at Toby's Tavern for a house beer, chicken and sausage gumbo and some fries. It was all really good and gave me something to add to our menu list at home to make.

We went into several little shops that carried a lot of souvenirs and other little tchotchkes to buy. But one of our favorite shops had this sticker in the window.

This made our day - we were laughing for a while, so we ended up going in and buying a magnet with this saying on it. I also love the little dutch boy and girl salt and pepper shaker kissing in the background.

The other time we chose to go out to eat was on our actual anniversary. We were both very hungry and we not going to be picky about where or what we were going to eat. We went to a mexican restaurant - I can't even remember the name of it, but it was in Oak Harbor. We both ordered and we ate, but we weren't impressed. The beans tasted like a tin can and the rice was really dry. We ate because we were hungry and I wasn't going to be picky, but we should have been because our dinners gave us tummy troubles later. Ugh.

I wanted to make our evening special, so before we left, I designed a logo for our get away. I put it on two wine bottles and also made t-shirts for the both of us. Since it was our Cotton anniversary, I thought it would be perfect for a gift for Peter. He liked it, but it was way too cold to wear it. It was the thought that counts, right!? Here is a photo of the wine bottle.

We also spent some time at Fort Casey. We hiked around for about two hours. It was a lot of fun. While we were there, we saw these guys practicing Kite Dancing. It was amazing how they were guiding and flying the huge kites synchronized. We also went down onto the beach, walked around the light house and just had a overall good time. 

We went for a few walks on the beach close to the house and while we were out. I got my heart in the sand again for this trip and we also found our heart shaped rock. Everywhere we go we always find one!

Hooray for Two Years of Wedded Bliss!!!

Canning Season is On!

It's the outcome that I look forward to most, but I do love the process - even when it keeps me in the kitchen all day and doesn't let me leave until the late evening. I have begun my canning season. Today I tackled the plums and pears that my father-in-law picked in our back yard before the squirrels took a taste of each one and left the remains on the ground. I had no idea what I was going to do with all these plums. They are Italian plums, small and sweet but what to do? I could have dried them, but seriously - we don't need that many prunes. I searched online and tried my hardest not to get distracted by Facebook or Pinterest. I finally came across a recipe for plum sauce. I figured it would be great to give as a gift or just to pour over a pork loin and bake! YUM!

The pears, I'll prepare in two ways. Pear sauce, which is great to bake with during the holiday season (I substitute the oil with either pear sauce or apple sauce and the baked goodies come out so yummy and less fat and stuff!) I sometimes even use the pear sauce for making pancakes or waffles on Sunday mornings - adds some great flavor! The second way I will process the pears is by making and canning juice. My sister-in-law, Monika turned me onto this idea - and I love it! I will start on the juice next weekend - I need to wait for more pears to fall. Today, I used the crock pot to make the pear sauce instead of the stovetop. It makes it a lot easier and since I don't have two large pots, this takes care of it all since I have two crock pots.


For the plums, I cooked them down in the crock pot with some red wine, cinnamon and cloves. I then pressed them through a sieve to remove any pits that may have snuck in and also to remove the skins. I then reduced the sauce on the stove top after I added some Agave (instead of sugar) and then put them in jars! The sauce still is a little bitter to me, but I figure when I cook with it in the future, I can adjust it to fit what I'm cooking with it. I may have added a little too much cloves to, but I'll take it as a learning experience.


I never thought I would be the kind of gal to can food. It scared me. What if something I made made me or someone else sick! I could never live with myself, however I couldn't let my fears get in my way and I couldn't let all this food go to waste, especially now with this economy!

However, the hours I spend in the kitchen washing, cutting, prepping and cooking the best sound in the world after all that work is the "POP" of the lids sealing as I sit back with a glass of wine and stare at the sink full of dirty dishes I created. Today - the dishes can wait until the morning!

Happy canning season to you!