Hi there! It’s me again. I know we haven’t connected this way since early December … sorry about that! I’m mulling over the list of things I should have been blogging about since then and it’s a good one. So here’s a rundown of what’s been going on and I am hoping with this mini post, I’ll get my blogging booty back in gear!
Since my last post:
• Our house renovation has been completed! And it looks amazing! We are just starting to get used to having (and using) our new space. It’s wonderful to have the extra light and a much more open feeling to our floor plan than we had before the remodel. It’s leading to some interesting projects … more on those in a future post!
• In other “addition” news, my hubby and I found out in January that we are expecting our first little one in September! I’m so grateful that, despite being tired and hungry, I haven’t had any morning sickness or complications so far. At the beginning of the pregnancy the baby was making me so hungry that we nicknamed him/her the hungry, hungry hippo. Hopefully tomorrow our little hippo cooperates and we will find out whether we are having a boy or a girl. I can’t wait to know!
• Okay so back to the house, the contractor’s portion of the work was completed in mid-March. Now we (and I use the term “we” loosely as it is mostly my husband) are still taking care of all the little things — re-arranging rooms, hanging art, putting things away, yard work. Thankfully we received A LOT of help from my amazing in-laws and my mom who were all visiting in March. Quite a few things got crossed off the to-do list during their time in DC — painting, cleaning, hanging new ceiling fans, the list goes on and on. Now it’s just the two of us plowing through what remains of the list, so thank goodness for weekends allowing us to continue making progress!
• After a terribly long winter (it snowed like crazy on March 30!!) spring has finally sprung in DC. While our yard was a total wreck because of the construction, the garden beds have been cleaned up and planted (with the exception of tomatoes and peppers) and we have flowers going in pots and planters, too. The other side of the yard is still in need of a lot of TLC. One thing at a time!
• We briefly escaped DC for a long weekend in Florida, in fact we managed to depart while it was snowing and returned just in time for yet another snow storm. It was great to catch up with the family and friends we visited in the Sarasota/Tampa area and I made a new friend while we were there — Cliff the Penguin!
Phew! I told you that we have had a lot going on! It may be a Monday, but I can still say I’m grateful to have ice cream in the freezer (hey, I’m pregnant, don’t judge my four different pints…okay, okay there are five…) and for being able to have the windows open while I work. Hope you are all having a great start to the week!
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.
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.
Well it has sure been a week here in DC. Between the shutdown, the insanity of Congress refusing to vote on the CR and yesterday’s Capitol Hill car chase and shooting, I think we are all glad to see this week come to an end. To celebrate (and because there is nothing better to do) we hosted a small federal employee brunch this morning for my hubby’s colleague and another friend. If you can’t work, you may as well bake a quiche (and apple cake and homemade granola), right?
While we all enjoyed those goodies along with some mimosas, bacon jam, and banana bread, I think everyone’s fingers are crossed that people will be back to work on Monday. Although there are still a good many things left on my hubby’s list…
Since early August we have had three dog visitors: Bo, Shiloh and Bella. It seemed like there would be a pause in our hosting four-legged guests, but Shiloh’s mommy just got engaged and asked if we could watch her furry angel while they visited family this weekend. And really, how could we say no to this face?
This morning Shiloh and I got up late — of course she got up early with my hubby before he went to rowing, came back to bed, got up again to go for a walk when my hubby came home, then came back to bed again — made coffee and started to work, but she was still a little bit tired.
Despite some big yawns, Shiloh managed to pose for a few pictures. During her photo shoot she was preoccupied, wondering what this so-called “work” was that I had been doing because she certainly could have gone for a lot more petting.
Then she just couldn’t take it anymore — it was nap time! It’s “ruff” being a doggie intern.
A few days ago I suddenly realized that the second anniversary of the day we bought our house was nearly upon us. Here’s what’s been accomplished around the house since March 12, 2010:
• We started hanging things up. It is true that there was a little art here and there during the first year we lived here, but we have recently gone on a hanging spree, finally adding art to our dining room, bedroom, hallway, stairwell and, most recently, our living room where I love how the addition of three ceramic plates we picked up in Jordan add character to the space.
• I spent a lot of mornings at the garden. We also tried to grow a few things on the front porch, but didn’t have nearly as much success with that as the first summer we lived here. This year we will be back at the garden plot, but we are hoping that during year three we can finally work on our backyard and have our garden here during summer 2012.
• With the help of my mother-in-law, we planted some daffodil and tulip bulbs in the front yard alongside the hyacinth and mini daffodil bulbs that we had planted when we first moved in. The new bulbs are just starting to come up and I can’t wait to see the flowers for the first time.
• Our bathroom skylight got a face lift, thanks to the hard work of my in-laws who cleaned up the window and the skylight space which look so much cleaner without the snowmageddon water damage. Speaking of the bathroom, my father-in-law also installed a vent in our basement bathroom, which has been a great addition since you can’t open the window to get any fresh air in there.
• We finally tackled our “little room” — clearing out all the storage, painting it and setting it up as a craft room. We have yet to actually craft in there, but I have high hopes that this year we will make that happen.
• My husband and father-in-law repaired a water damaged area on our lower back porch wall. It looks much cleaner, but despite being enclosed it is still freezing out there in the winter. They also installed a ceiling fan in our living room, providing some much-needed air movement during the sticky summer months.
• My husband put together a storage area in the basement and it seems we are kind of heading in the direction of making the room a more appealing space for guests. We’ll see!
There is a lot on our agenda for the next year — new windows for the front of the house, possibly a new boiler, replacing the futon in the basement with an actual bed and the large, boxy television with a flat screen, the list goes on and on. There are bigger items — air conditioning, solar panels, refinishing the back porches and knocking out the wall between our kitchen and dining room — on the list for a few years down the road. Despite the never-ending list of things to do, I am so grateful we have this beautiful place to live. And all quirks that come along with it.
I had reservations about starting this blog (mostly whether I would ever have anything to talk about), but I’ve enjoyed my first year in the blogosphere. After looking back at the 85+ posts from 2010, I tried to pick out my favorite 5. Sadly for you, it was impossible for me to narrow it to less than 10.
Without further ado, my top 10 posts of 2010.
January 25: How to be a Good Housewife
The post that started it all!
March 23: Attack of the Killer Ants!
We were so lucky to have these special guests come and go throughout the year … Here’s hoping that they will not make a repeat appearance in 2011!
March 30: Coupon Clipper Extraordinaire
My ability to save more than I spend thanks to super double coupon days definitely had to make it on the top 10!
April 6: The Visitors
I am cheating a little bit with this one since it ended up being a 3-part series — first my college friends visited, then we had Norwegian/English guests who were stranded thanks to the Icelandic Volcano and they were followed by my in-laws.
July 15: A New Routine
Summer 2010 brought ridiculous heat and an altered work schedule that I think made everyone think I might be losing it.
July 20: The Seven Year Itch
After a lengthy hiatus from singing, I took to the stage and had my first recital since I was 18!
August 3: The Life of a Freelancer
With the first half of the year behind me, I examined the ups and downs of life as a freelancer.
September 9: Happy Wednesday!
A wedding anniversary shouldn’t be the only special day for a married couple.
November 22: Conversations in Amman
Traveling is always a wonderful experience and our trip to Jordan left us with some particularly entertaining stories…
After reviewing my adventures from the past 12 months, I anxiously anticipate what will come my way in 2011. Hopefully I will find the time in the new year to write about more quirky household experiences and you will continue to enjoy reading about them.
Happy (early) New Year!