Holy Moly Gaucamole Batman, this weekend was exhausting! The reason for such whirlwind activity was a very important one- Roscoe turned 5! We had not one, not two, but THREE parties for him with the end result being one very happy, and very tired, young man. The celebrations started out with cake and party favors for his class. In the interest of time and my sanity, I did not make his cakes for 2/3′s of the parties and bought the favors online via Oriental Trading- easy peasy. After being hopped up on sugar and the added excitement of turning 5, Roscoe came home to celebrate another party with family. My mom and dad came in for the party, too, making it an even more special day for our special guy.
What summer party is complete without watermelon?!
The cake! (Spiderman of course)
Our big presents to little man were a touch tablet (only $55 folks- not an ipad!) and an ukelele. I am proud to say he loved both! As for us, we loved having so many special people with whom to share this awesome occasion. Once the party was over, however, it was time to gear up for party #3. Fortunately for us, we decided to keep the friends party low key opting to have it at our neighborhood playground. We were pleasantly surprised how many folks showed up and had a truly memorable time.
Roscoe’s meal request were pizzas from his favorite spot- Corner Slice. He even made a custom pizza request of Mac n’ Cheese Bite Pizza. The consensus was that it was delicious, but I just couldn’t muster the courage to give it a try.
For dessert we had homemade vanilla ice cream and “hamburger” cupcakes that I made copying a recipe I found online (courtesy of Delicious Melicious)
Although it was an exhausting weekend, we are confident Roscoe felt uber special and had an amazing couple of days: mission accomplished!
We had a wonderful Valentine’s Day on Tuesday although a bit more low key than in years past- I suppose that happens when you have a kids? Anyhoo, our celebration plans weren’t extravagant by any means; a card exchange, smooches and hugs, and a decadent meal we planned to cook up ourselves.
As I mentioned yesterday, we scored a major deal at the local farmer’s market this past Saturday: two for one grass-fed rack of lamb! For only $14 buckaroos, we could eat the equivalent of a meal that would easily be $70 for us in a restaurant. Aaron and I got down to business with our rubs/glazes, with Aaron opting for a garlic dijon mustard blend and me going with a mint/olive oil/sal and pepper blend.
With Aaron manning the grill preparations, I got the sides ready: baked potatoes and Tom Ka Gai (Coconut and Chicken Soup). I found my recipe for the soup here, and subsituted light coconut milk for the full throttle version. With Roscoe on table setting duty we all contributed to making an excellent meal.
It was, to say the very least, absolutely delicious. All the flavors melded wonderfully together and Aaron cooked the racks to perfection. And for dessert? Homemade creme brulee of course!
It was a superb lover’s day meal if I may say so, better than going out to celebrate not just because of the food but rather because of the company of my family and the intimacy of our own home. Cheers!
Holy Moly Batman- it has been a whirlwind of a Christmas season! In the midst of all the excitement I took a voluntary break from blogging. As much as I enjoy
oversharing, having one less to-do on the daily must’s list was quite helpful. During these last few weeks we have been uber busy, as I am sure most everyone can relate. Christmas sort of creeped up on us this year and we spent the last 14 days accomplishing what we should have done in 30, but accomplish it we did! So what exactly did we do? Well, of course we made cookies (of course): Peanut butter with milk chocolate hershey kisses.
I was also given the honor of baking the most amazing Cream Cheese Braid with my MIL using a recipe that was her mother’s and is not shared with anyone. It is a two day process to make and while I only assisted the second day, I felt quite special to be a part of the tradition. I cannot even explain how delicious this bread is!
Other than baking there was of course the last minute present making chaos, including homemade pajama pants for all of our nieces and nephews and several adults.
Then there was the actual wrapping of the presents, including all of our last minute gifts to Roscoe’s teachers. All I can say, is thank goodness for If It’s Paper! They have such gorgeous boxes that I don’t even have to use wrapping paper (major plus during this time crunched season).
After all the baking was done, presents bought and/or mostly made, items wrapped and under the tree, Aaron and I were able to unwind Christmas Eve and enjoy the simple pleasures of looking at the lights on our tree and making it appear as though Santa had really come to visit. The next morning, it was back to a frenzy as Roscoe excitedly opened up his gifts.
Yay for us he loved what “Santa” had brought him. Aaron’s parents then came over and we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast feast together before we had to fly off to Myrtle Beach to visit my family. Spending time with brother and sister’s children was so wonderful and I felt ridiculously blessed to be their Aunt, getting the pleasure of holding and loving on them most of the day. We arrived back home yesterday, left to unpack and settle back into the rhythm of everyday life once again. Even though life is back to “normal”, we are left with special memories of a wondeful Christmas and plenty of love shared. I hope everyone else had a terrific holiday as well!
On Friday it dawned on me that I had yet to design, print, and send out our Christmas cards for the 2011 holiday season. Over the years, it has become our tradition to make homemade cards so running out to the store to buy a few packs simply was not an option. I had originally planned to have professional family photos done for use on a card design, but scheduling conflicts and unexpected events derailed that idea. By Friday afternoon I was sufficiently fixated on sending out cards prior to 2012 to actually get around to creating one using a photo I already had on hand. Behold, Roscoe hanging an ornament on the Christmas tree this year.
I retinted this photo to sepia and merely printed on manila cardstock. Then I created a top design of holiday-themed shutters that would “open” to the photo and our text. With a little exacto work on the shutters and glue stick to hold my pieces together, I had our holiday card.
It took me about a half hour to put everything together and our cards were done. They are in the mail as we speak and I can cheerily check another item of the to-do list. Joy!
I have been a little lazy on posting this week; not because I don’t have plenty to update you on, but rather because I’ve been traveling time zones for work. The good news is that I am back and relishing in sleeping in my own bed and being amongst my favorite people and I have a new product to tout. Let me first offer a disclaimer(s): 1) I did not make this product and 2) I am not receiving any compensation for this endorsement. With that aside, let’s discuss the glories of a foamer/frother wand.
Your first thoughts on what a foamer wand might be conjuring up images of princesses or some new handy dandy cleaning too, but alas neither is correct. In fact a foamer wand is an ingenious kitchen tool for whipping your milk/creamer into a frenzy so you can make the perfect cappucino, etc. I first heard of a foamer wand a few months ago (yes- I am way behind the curve for those of you already in the know!) and immediately began scouring the internet for the best price. I found this Ikea one that was only $2.50 through Amazon.
The reasons I didn’t purchase immediately was that it had terrible reviews about the motor lifespan and the shipping cost was astronomical. The flip side was that now I was fixated on owning a foamer wand and hence the search ensued, landing me at one of my favorite places: Sur La Table. This cooking store always has awesome deals, a friendly staff, and is way more approachable than Williams and Sonoma (not to say I don’t adore W & S, too).
In their Christmas display in the front of the store, do you know what they had on display? Yep. A Bodum foamer wand! For only $12.95. Vini, vidi, vici. In other words, sold!
I was anxious to use it and can attest that I had an awesome cafe au lait this morning courtesy of this wand. It took all of 40 seconds to whip my creamer into a slurry of foamy goodness.
Making me feel even more satisfied with my purchsae was Sur la Table’s guarantee. When I mentioned the reviews I read about these wand’s short motor life, the sales lady informed me that if my wand should stop functioning just bring it in and they would either give me a refund or a new wand. That’s a deal I can handle. Three cheers to a good cup of joe and merry (early) Christmas to me!
Here I am sitting in my kitchen, packing up my bags for a trip to Anaheim, California for work. And you know what? I am actually relieved to have a full day of travel before me! The reasons why is that the last week has been crazy busy and sitting on a plane flying across the country is equitable to a day at the spa in comparison. The most anxiety producing event of these past few days was by far the First Friday Indie/Holiday Market this past Friday. Between the preparations and the stress of wondering whether anyone will buy my homemade goodies, I was a tad frazzled. Luckily for me, Aaron agreed to help work the market and my in-laws were gracious enough to watch Roscoe for the evening.
Perhaps I was a little overzealous with my preparations, but I felt it necessary to pre-plan my table layout. I actually created a blueprint. I kid you not.
In all honesty, doing this type of preplan did help to calm my nerves and give me a plan of attack the day of. All in all, I was rather pleased with how the plan turned out.
I had picked up the suitcase in front at a rummage sale a while back for a few dollars for the sole purpose of displaying all the pillow covers I had made. I am pleased to report that the covers sold like hotcakes!
I also dug up a Charlie Brown-esque tree to use as a display for my homemade paper ornaments and earrings. I thought it was rather charming and amusing at the same time.
Last but not least, I organized all the bath/beauty products I made on one side of the table. There were bath bombs, body lotion, bath salts, and massage bars- all organic all awesome. The bath bombs were a big hit and seller, too!
All in all, doing the market was a great experience. We met some great folks (vendors and customers) and had a ball talking to everyone about our stuff. I will certainly plan on doing another market but am glad it won’t be occurring again until April 2012. That should at least give me plenty of time to make some changes, new products, and gear up for another successful market!
Yesterday, I shared my efforts at readying our living room for the holidays. Now it’s time to reveal the kitchen- can you even contain the excitement?! Getting this room ready was really just an instance of jockeying existing decor around and scrounging outside for some added natural elements. Here it is before I attacked it with my holiday cheer:
First things first, the rug had to be changed out. Not that I don’t love the previous rug, particularly because I picked it up for $5 at a yard sale (score!), but its color scheme wasn’t exactly festive. So I made a few switches amongst the other rooms and ended up with this.
Then I went to work on a little tablescape. I had spotted a little evergreen growing in the yard the other day and I decided it would look much better on our table. I decorated the planter with some stray ribbon/edging I had and then placed votives I painted to mimic mercury glass on either side.
Last but not least, I hung a wreath of bittersweet I made the other day in front of the antiqued mirrors on the wall.
These few steps helped to add a little festive spirit to the room. The warmer tones make it feel so much cozier setting the perfect mood for this time of year.
Of course, the process of setting the holiday mood is not done yet- I still have to tackle Roscoe’s room. With everything else going on at the moment (the Indie Market we’re participating in is tomorrow!), that just may have to wait. Until then, I’m sure my imagination will at least be active in the redecorating.
Thank goodness it is finally getting a little colder! I’m sure that some folks will guffaw at that statement, citing the pleasures of warm weather. That’s all fine and dandy, but personally I like it to be cold for the holidays- preferably with a high likelihood of snowfall. Waking up to 37 degree temps, therefore, was greeted by yours truly with a smile and warm socks. Arriving alongside the chill is my motivation to get a little holiday decorating done in the ole homestead. So far I’ve made and hung garland outside and strung the lights, but there is still more to do on the exterior before I can claim completion. Until then, how about a tour of the one room I have successfully tackled in the interior?
With the Christmas tree placed prominently in the Living Room, it seemed like the natural place to focus my decorating efforts. I decided to keep things rather neautral this year, with a touch of beachiness thrown in to remind of us of our old hometown Charleston. The only items I actually purchased this year were flameless LED candles…safe, cheap, and much more likely to be used than real candles (in our household at least).
The rest of the holiday decor was either from years past and/or picked up for free- like the trimmings from Lowe’s that I used to make the garland. The garland is my effort to compensate for not having a mantle/fireplace to hang any stockings from. While we are fortunate to have had such luck selling our last home, I will miss its three fireplaces that offered plenty of space to deck out with holiday cheer.
Of course I found a huge garland hanging off of our wall too plain (imagine that), so I trimmed it with a simple garland of magnolia pods and pinecones and several of our favorite Christmas cards from years past.
For the console table, I placed two more lanterns from Ikea outfitted with those handy dandy flameless candles. I then added two papier mache Christmas trees from Hobby Lobby, some homemade paper ornaments, and a glass case filled with driftwood picked upon our travels.
Last but not least, I discreetly hung several handmade satchets filled with cinnamon scented wood chips from the lamps to fill the air with the special scent of Chrismas.
So at least one room can be checked off the list for Christmas readiness. My next targets are the kitchen, Roscoe’s room and finishing up the outside with a few window swags. More pics to come as progress is made!
It has been quite a whirlwind holiday weekend and a fun one at that. Instead of running through a detailed replay, how about a “weekend’s best” of highlights instead? Of course, no Thanksgiving is complete without a little homemade pumpkin pie. Roscoe was quite the little helper and has declared he will be making next year’s pies all by his lonesome.
Thanksgiving itself was a wonderful feast complete with all the standard fixings and good company. As always, I ate way too much. I just couldn’t say no when all that deliciousness was set before me.
The following day we held true to tradition and headed to Boone to choose and cut our Christmas tree. Aaron insisted we pick one from the top of the mountain this year which was fine by me. At least we were able to work off some of the prior day’s caloric intake.
On Saturday we decided it was high time Roscoe put on a pair of ice skate and claim his legacy in a family of ice skaters (Aaron’s father was a pro hockey player). He did pretty well for his first time, not because of any innate ability but rather because of sheer stubbornness. Roscoe insisted he did not need to hold on to the wall and was good enough to skate holding Daddy’s hand. Needless to say, there was a lot of falling going on, but Roscoe had a ball- meaning we had a hard time getting him to depart the rink.
On Sunday we made and hung garland at our house and at Church and finally got around to decorating our Christmas tree. 99% of the ornaments on the tree were given to Aaron by his grandmother, one a year until her passing. It’s a special experience for Aaron to be able to explain and hang these ornaments with Roscoe so I busied myself with observing and taking photos while they shared this time.
I certainly hope everyone had a marvelous holiday and enjoyed their own traditions. I’ll be back later this week with a tour of our house all decked out for the holidays. Til then, cheers!
Whoa! How is tomorrow already Thanksgiving?! I swear I was just telling Aaron I couldn’t believe it was already Thanksgiving and now it’s almost December- practically a month away from Christmas! Despite time fleeting before my very eyes, I am quite fortunate that I do not have to host Thanksgiving Dinner. That honor goes to MIL who is not only a phenomenal cook but a gracious hostess as well. The only tasks I’m responsible for are bringing the pumpkin pies (homemade of course- and, yes, there is a difference!) and cranberry sauce. I’ve successfully procrastinated on those items until today hence my evening wil be predictably full of cooking and baking. But on to other news!
Roscoe was in his first play yesterday! His class put on a Thanksgiving play where he played the part of an Indian. My face was sore I smiled so big and long. Who knew it was possibly to feel so proud and in love with a little tike who literally said six words? Regardless, they were the best delivered six words ever in the history of dramatic performance. Besides the play and a subsequent cafeteria style lunch at his school (I certainly do not miss those), I was again tackling my self-imposed list of things to do for the First Friday Indie market.
Last night I made a bunch of card sets using linocuts I had carved earlier. Pretty cute if I may say so myself!
On the docket for tonight? Pie baking and cranberry relish making of course. Since I’ve already agree to let Roscoe help it may take a little longer than normal to get these tasks checked off the list, but then it’s on to more crafting and fair preparations. Heaven knows I’ll be glad to relax after the market. I hope everyone has a stupendous Thanksgiving holiday and enjoys yummy morsels with their loved ones! Cheers!