It’s been a few days since we got back from our babymoon in Quebec, but visiting friends and work made life a bit too hectic for blogging. Without further ado, here’s a few belated details about our adventures in Canada last weekend:
68,672 steps walked
2,160 ml small batch sirop d’erable (maple syrup) obtained
748 pictures taken
6 museums visited/tours taken
6 meals had pork (pork belly appetizer, breakfast x2, pulled pork, ham & cheese croissant, ham & cheese crepe).
4 nights at a fabulous B&B (Au Bois Joli)
3 minutes to inhale my ham and cheese crepe at dinner the last night (after they lost our order tag and didn’t realize for AN HOUR that we were still waiting… I was about to eat off of the plates of the people around us! And let’s be honest, 3 minutes is being generous…)
2 days filled with unseasonably warm, sunny weather — I wish I had had shorts!
It all adds up to 1 amazing last pre-baby international adventure
Well the title of this post pretty much sums it up — Ikea furniture assembly is a true test of understanding directions with no words, boxes with an endless amount of parts and, typically, missing or broken pieces.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. A few months ago we decided that it was about time we upgraded from our full bed to a queen. After 7 years, my hubby (who is 6’1″) and I could really use just a little more room — particularly since my body pillow is now taking up more than its fair share of space.
But I digress, we purchased said bed during the government shutdown when my husband had time to go to Ikea during a weekday. Since then it’s been sitting around in boxes waiting for our renovation to be complete and yesterday evening after a delicious, ham-filled Easter meal we finally got the ball rolling on setting up the new bed. (And by “we” I clearly mean “he” got the ball rolling. I *did* vacuum the carpet when the old bed was moved out. Five years of dust bunnies — pretty terrifying!)
Despite not starting the assembly process until around 5 or 5:30 and having a 30 minute interruption when our neighbors came by the check out the house, my husband worked continuously on that bed throughout the evening because he knew how much I wanted to be able to sleep in it. And he ALMOST had it ready for us too, but the screws for some of the support beams were not included… I believe this was discovered around step 48. He kept going and took care of everything else involved in the 53 step process, but we spent our evening in the basement sleeping in our old bed. This morning I was off to Ikea straight away for replacement screws. Fingers crossed that they gave me the right ones! Then we can cross one more thing off our lengthy to-do list.
We have had two days of nonstop rain and there may be a snow flurry heading our way. While this has not been my favorite forecast the chilly,wet weather is the perfect incentive to stay inside and prep for Thanksgiving. With 9 family members from California in town, we’ll be having Thanksgiving with 13 people. Thankfully my brother-in-law and his wife live just down the street and we are sharing kitchen duties. That means two turkeys — they are going the traditional route and we are deep frying ours — tons of sides, a few pies and a whole lot of wine (thankfully we don’t have to make that).
Along with the turkey we are making our usual stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans with shallots, cranberry relish, and dessert. This morning I took care of the pies — we’ve got an apple crumble and good ‘ol pumpkin ready to go. Next up, putting together the stuffing so tomorrow we can just slide it in the oven and be done with it, allowing us to focus on the truly important things like deep fried turkey. And family, of course.
Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!
Yes, it’s Thankful Thursday on Friday! I swear I started this post yesterday but things just got away from me, so without further ado:
I can’t believe it is only a week until Thanksgiving — where did 2013 go? As the year winds down and the holiday season swiftly approaches, it seems as good a time as any to reflect on some of the many things I am grateful this year.
• The opportunity to sing. On Sunday I will be able to share my voice with others during the Capitol Hill Group Ministries Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. This is just one of the unique chances I have had this year to get back to singing. During the summer I connected with a violinist and pianist to perform “To Love You More” at a house concert. It was so much fun to sing was the two of them, as well as a drummer and a cellist.
• Our big, crazy families. While my immediate family is pretty small on both sides, my husband’s family is quite large and this year we are getting an extra does of togetherness as his mom’s side is in the process of descending upon DC for Thanksgiving. We’ll have a week and a half of big (delicious) dinners, our favorite California wines, trips to museums and monuments, chilly winter walks and lots of time for talking (too bad we don’t have a fire place to gather around)! And in just a few weeks we will get to do it all over again (with my family included this time) in California.
• The many chances to travel near and far in 2013 — from Turkey to Tampa I have seen beautiful sunsets, had incredible meals, and spent time cultivating relationships new and old. I can’t imagine what life would be like without airplanes that can get me to California in 6 hours or to Istanbul in 10.
Living in DC, I have to admit that Veteran’s Day seems much more real than when we lived in California — the monuments, the military presence, and the connections that we have formed with so many people who have chosen to serve. Today as a nation we honor the contributions of the many generations of men and women who have unselfishly sacrificed for this country.
On this crisp fall holiday, I am thankfully reflecting on the sacrifices of our veterans. I am also grateful for the extra day to spend more time with my husband, more time trying to get over the world’s slowest progressing cold, and more time getting caught up on things around the house.
Thanks to the previously mentioned cold, I’ve been slacking off around the house since late October, so despite not being back to 100% I started cooking and baking up a storm on Friday. I even made dinner on Friday — quite impressive, I know — and when my hubby got home from work we enjoyed some fresh baked bread and chicken roasted with carrots, potatoes, and onions in brandy. It was pretty delicious if I do say so myself. I also whipped up two batches up mini corn and green chili muffins for a potluck and yesterday we kicked off the gorgeous fall day enjoying a toasty applesauce coffee cake with crumbly topping. Yum. Of course, it was all so tasty that I didn’t snap any pictures before the devouring began…
Apart from all the kitchen time, I’ve been doing my best to capture each phase of the work on our new addition (often by stealthy stalking the guys from the dining room — hey, it got cold last week!). The foundation has been poured and we will have our wall check this week. Hopefully next week there will be some really clear developments as the basement level storage room begins to take shape! Here are a few pictures of the progress:
About a month ago my hubby spent one cold, gloomy Saturday in the kitchen. The result? Amazing French onion soup (which he has made before) and, for the first time, bacon jam. It may sound odd, but it was heavenly!
While he was furloughed I tried to convince him that writing a guest post about this incredible snack would be a good idea. Well, he may have gone back to work, but we are just getting around to sharing the bacon jam story.
If you’ve read almost any of my wife’s blog posts, you are probably well aware of her adoration of anything pork. So when I came across a recipe for Bacon Jam on Foodie with Family, it was pretty much inevitable that we try it out. Just looking over the ingredient list had me drooling: BACON, onions, garlic, maple syrup, brown sugar… It was an easy, but lengthy, process—much like making French Onion Soup—where you slowly caramelize the ingredients and reduce them down to a thick viscous goo of goodness.
And what do you do with this concoction with its beckoning bacon aroma? Through a thorough, uncompromising, and rigorous study, we determined it goes with pretty much anything. First of all, during the production phase, we tasted it off a spoon. That was good. The obvious first choice of bacon jam-to-mouth delivery vehicle was bread. That was good—whether on toasted baguette, whole wheat, Boudin sourdough, or my personal favorite home-made piping hot brioche. Subsequently we tried mixing it into granola. That was good. On top of a tomato slice. That was good. Woven crackers, water crackers, graham crackers. All good. Well, you get the picture.
Three pounds of bacon later, I have a solid lead on where that weight went (I’m looking at you, love handles). But I wouldn’t take back a single delicious bite of that bacon jam.
If you want to try your hand at creating your own bacon jam, or find yourself drooling over a variety of other delicious recipes, visit: Foodie with Family.
Okay, my headline might be a teensy bit misleading, but honestly I am running out of ways to title posts about this furlough nonsense. There are no “facts” in this post and probably not a whole lot of “fun.” As we approach the middle of week three of the government shutdown, finding the bright side has gotten a little tougher — When will my husband be going back to work? Will he receive back pay? If so, how long we will have to wait for that? But as I started to make this list, I see that there are a number of positive outcomes due to this unexpected three week “vacation.” Here’s what we have been up to the past few days:
• We are finally approaching the start of our long talked about home renovation project, so my hubby spent yesterday and this morning clearing out our lower back porch so it is ready to be demolished. And he didn’t just throw the stuff that was back there all over the rest of the house, he nicely organized it in the kitchen and basement. I am so glad that after months of planning, permitting, and reaching out to contractors we are nearly ready to knock things down and get this renovation started!
• I baked tiny little brioche bites from scratch on Monday. They were absolutely delicious, particularly when topped with bacon jam (which I keep trying to convince my hubby to post about…)
• It finally stopped raining so we’ve been able to sit outside a few mornings this week and catch up with folks over our usual iced mocha and chai.
• Despite our plan to not spend any money, we tried out the pretzel place (that has been open for at least a year) and frequented the new cupcake/coffee shop that is in its soft opening phase since both are only a few blocks from the house. Gotta support our local neighborhood businesses! And I got a free mocha out of the latter.
• Our garbage and recycling is still getting picked up. Definitely happy about that!
• My husband has continued cooking up a storm and if he doesn’t go back to work soon I am going to be furlough fat — while I love having home cooked meals for lunch AND dinner, I think my pants would be happier with just one big meal per day. My fingers are crossed that I fit into the dress I bought for my friend’s wedding this weekend!
• Last (and definitely least) I had a dream that we spent $400 buying cheese ($120 of which was tax!) last night. Needless to say I was a little stressed out about this decision since the government was also shutdown in my dream. I love cheese as much as the next girl, but I was very glad to wake up and discover that we had not purchased a lifetime supply of cheese!