Monday, December 29, 2014

Baby Bear Hat

I got a chance to sew my little nephew a bear hat before the holidays. I used this pattern and it was very easy to sew. It's reversible - but I didn't want to put ears on the inside because I thought that would be uncomfortable.

We had a wonderful visit with our family over the holidays. The highlight was definitely getting to know this little guy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays!

I made a lot of presents this year that I'll share soon. We're enjoying time with family now and cuddling our sweet little nephew. More soon. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, y'all! We've got our friend Michele visiting from Italy, so we've been doing our part in showing him the best Tex-mex and Mexican food in Austin this week. (I don't think I've ever eaten so many chips & salsa in a week before!)

 Cheers to being Friday, and my final grades almost all put in!! WOOT

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Treats

We ended up having a huge change of plans for Thanksgiving after discovering that Big Bend's campgrounds would be full before we could even leave town. Two of our good friends just moved to Austin the week before, so we decided to have a proper Thanksgiving here with them. I baked all day Wednesday - brandied pumpkin pie, blondies, and a chocolate mocha cake (with my attempt at sculpting a turkey out of caramel for on top!).

 I thought I was over pumpkin pie, but OMG it was so good. I used the New York Time's recipe for brandied pumpkin pie that recommended using pureed butternut squash. I still had a couple jars of butternut squash from grandma's gardens, so I was sold. It's amazing. I also had never made my own pie crust before (pathetic, I know, but this is the first pie I've ever made...I'm usually not a pie person.)

The pie came out of the oven looking beautiful and later I covered it with a piece of plastic wrap. The plastic wrap eventually sunk onto part of the pie and when I pulled it up, the perimeter of the sunken plastic left a weird ring on my pie. Boo!

We had a perfect few days off and now there's only a tiny bit of the semester left before I can keep baking and meet my sweet little nephew, Jacob!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! We have an exciting week coming up - Eric & I get to go to Big Bend National Park! We've been wanting to go for years since we've been living in Austin and finally get to go.

The biggest news though is that my brother & sister-in-law are having their baby next week!!! We are so excited for them and can't wait to meet our nephew. Send lots of positive vibes their way for a short and smooth delivery and a healthy baby C! <3 <3 <3

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Louise Belcher Hat

A couple weekends ago I decided I wanted to dress up as something simple for Halloween. I'm very against store bought costumes, so I was left to think of a costume I'd want to make. We've recently become big Bob's Burgers fans and seeing my friend Ashley's daughter dressed up Louise became a joke that I should dress up as her, too.

I loosely followed this tutorial to make the hat, but did a few parts differently. It was a really fun hat to sew. I spent a good amount of time making it, but it was totally worth it. The end result is super cute and really comfortable. 

Here's a couple shots of me making the hat. I used 2 clothes hangers to form the ears.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I made some halloween treats earlier this week. Toasting marshmallows under the broiler is fun. :) I used my standard brownie recipe found here (it's one bowl, which is awesome. I add instant espresso to the recipe). After the brownies cool a bit, you use the broiler to quickly set the faces (about a minute).

My father-in-law will be in town this weekend and I think tonight we're going to take him downtown to see the craziness of 6th street on halloween. I'm wearing a pretty simple costume, but I did spend hours last weekend sewing part of it. I'll put it up on the blog in the next few days.

Sorry for a long time without posting. I swear one day I'll have more time to post regularly. This month has been really busy at work and we went to NYC for a long weekend and are just now starting to catch up.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! Not a whole lot happening right now, other than grading a bunch of calculus exams. We've had a really fun past couple weeks with birthday parties and sending off Stephie as she moved to Portland (miss you!).

I've oddly been wanting to learn how to fold origami. I've always thought it was neat, but never had an interest until about a month ago. Now our coffee table is covered in random origami papers and failed attempts of intricate flowers.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chocolate Chip "Pumpkin" Muffins

A cold front came through Austin this weekend and I happily turned on my oven to bake on Saturday. I still have several jars of canned butternut squash from grandma's garden and decided to bake something with pumpkin to take to Stephie's going away party (Steph Goes West Fest). I used a regular ole' recipe something like this. They turned out delicious and reminiscent of my mom's famous pumpkin ring cake.

 I also made a carmelized onion tart that's always a hit.

Stephie's party was really fun, but sadly I forgot to take a single picture! Doh. I brought ingredients to make a Whiskey Smash (bourbon + lemonade + berry juice) and it was a hit. (The berry juice is from grandma's berries! Thanks mom for canning everything.)

Wonderful weekend. We're going to miss you, Steph!

Monday, August 18, 2014


Flowers in grandma's garden. Forgot the name (mom, help?).

I'm missing all the flowers up in Pennsylvania (and the much, much cooler weather). It's really hot in Austin right now, and despite some green plants in our back yard, our grass is very fried and not very pretty to look at.

Queen Anne's Lace growing in the wild. Did you notice the ant? I didn't until I went to add this caption!

I'm so obsessed with Queen Anne's Lace. And it grows wild EVERYWHERE up in PA. I had to resist the urge to pick some every time I saw it. My dad made a pit stop at a Home Depot one day and instead of going in with him, I convinced my mom to go to the side of the parking lot and help me pick a bunch of it (thanks mom!).

They also remind me of my wedding flowers (below) which makes me very, very happy :)

^My wedding flowers with Queen Anne's Lace (among other gorgeous picks by my Aunt Robin)

Flower outside of grandma's house. Forgot this one's name too (mom, help?).

I haven't made much since I've been back in Austin. I'm feeling a whole lot better, but the last stages of early lyme is fatigue. On Friday night I was so extremely exhausted/tired I went to bed at 6pm. Yep. You can see why I'm not sewing or baking anything right now. I'm happy to be doing a lot better though.

Echinacea in grandma's garden.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I'm thirty!

I am officially thirty today! I'm a little sad to not be able to celebrate more, but I did get doctor's approval to have a glass of champagne despite my heavy dose of antibiotics. (Can you really turn 30 without one? I'd really like more, but whatever.) My main birthday treat today is getting to go to a really nice oyster bar with Eric.

I've been really sick off and on the last two weeks and finally got my blood work results that confirm I have lyme disease. Apparently my long stint of paradise in the Pennsylvania countryside came at a price! I'm very lucky though for the symptoms to have shown up so early and for the tests to confirm everything so I could start antibiotics fast. A lot of people get sick much later and the disease is often very hard to detect through testing.

I'm really looking forward to this upcoming year and am excited to be thirty. I have more things to post about from my travels, so I'll slowly be posting more things from my summer trips.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Raspberries, raspberries & more raspberries

Each day of my stay in Pennsylvania we picked ginormous bowls of raspberries from my grandma's raspberry patches. I have a little backyard at our place in Austin and I kept trying to estimate how large her patches were in comparison to our backyard. I'm thinking 3 backyards. (My backyard is the size of 4 small bedrooms.) Do you like my estimations? I should just guess in square feet...

Above, a normal morning's pick.

The berries start to get moldy after just one day (!!), so mom froze a ton of them and we juiced some. We hand squeezed the juice to fill the contents of the jar above. We used the old school pillowcase method! Lots of squeezing and big mess. The above jar is on its way to becoming raspberry vinegar.

After seeing how much work my mom has to do to juice (raspberries, tomatoes, etc.), I decided to order her a much needed gift: a Breville juicer (same as the one I own). Above she's enjoying using it for the first time.

A few days before I left, mom ordered a dehydrator. It came in the mail the day before I was leaving and we attempted to dehydrate some berries for me to take with me on the next stop of my trip. Sadly, after 15 hours, they still weren't finished! Mom said they eventually finished later that day, but sheesh! So long.

I wish I'd made the raspberries scones I intended to, but we kept ourselves busy with everything else. Mom made lots of raspberry tea (delicious) and we ate as many fresh berries as we could before freezing or juicing.

I'm back in Austin now, but more to share soon from PA and from visiting friends in DC.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Happy Birthday, Brad!

Happy Birthday to my big brother! I hope you're sleeping in and then your day is full of things you love: running, steak & sweet treats.

Love and miss you! Wish we were together on your birthday.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Campanelle with Chanterelles

Mom and I went looking on my uncle's property for chanterelles a couple days ago and found a bunch. They are such a treat. I'm being spoiled with the mushrooms we can find locally in the woods up here - fresh black trumpets (OMG), chanterelles, and horse mushrooms. My parents are growing shitakes and oyster mushrooms outside, but I don't think they'll be ready until after I leave.

 I made a creamy pasta for lunch today with them and peas from the garden. I used this recipe with campanelle instead of fettuccine. Delicious.

Still having a lovely time up here and am amazed at everything there grows here. Mom asked me the other night if I wanted some chamomile tea...from pineapple chamomile she found growing next to their garage. It never ends :).

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Grandma's Gardens

This is my second week up in Rimersburg, PA, the town my parents are both from and much of my dad's side of the family still lives. It's a small town with rolling hills, farms and forest. My grandma has had huge gardens and orchards her whole life growing berries, apples, pears, grapes, flowers and nearly every vegetable you can think of. Today my Uncle Alan showed me the four (four!) different types of onions they have planted.

peas so good we usually eat them raw. 

husband in the garden.

garlic going to seed.

friend in the raspberry patch.

strawberry fields forever.

husband hunting for strawberries.


mom and I made net covers for the blueberry plants.

I can't remember how long it's been since I've been so relaxed. Every day consists of coffee with the parents and my Uncle Alan, red & black raspberry picking, rides through the forest on the golf cart, cooking (usually treats from the garden), mushrooming (more on that soon), thrift store shopping and reading. L O V E. I'm so happy.

Rimersburg Family Trip

Last week Eric and I flew up to Pennsylvania to stay with my parents along with my Aunt Barb and cousins Fred and Mike. We had a blast all week relaxing, sight seeing in the country, walking through the forest and just spending time with each other.

Here's a few funny moments from last week for my family to remember:

"This right here is the King Boofer chair" - My dad
While taking a tour of my parents' new place, my dad made sure to point out the worn-out small recliner on the porch. This is where he chills out boofs (as he would call it). He asked me the other day, "did you ever think you'd see your dad relax like this?". Me, "nope!".

"Well, I gotta go have sex with my squash" - Uncle Alan

My Uncle Alan is the primary caretaker of my grandma's gardens. He fears there aren't enough bees around, so he has to pollinate the blooms himself. He comes to my parents' house every morning at 7am to have coffee with them and often leaves saying something like, "it's time for my fertility clinic" or "I have to have sex with my squash."

"We aren't leaving until we see an elk!" - Everyone in the van trip to Elk Country

My dad, mom, Eric, Fred, Mike and Aunt Barb loaded up in the rental van one day and headed up to check out the Kinzua bridge and drive around Elk Country. After checking out the bridge, we drove another hour or so to look for elk. It was unfortunately really hot and in the middle of the day, so our luck at catching an elk was slim. We even extended the drive to ride along the creek for miles hoping to catch one having a drink. After a number of hours, we were exhausted and hungry and began to settle for finding a spot with elk burgers and making our drive home. We spotted a sign for a restaurant 5 miles ahead and on the way we finally saw an elk! And we got to have elk burgers.

"Grandma, what kind of hot dog is it?" - Mike

Mike (7 yrs. old) is one of the pickiest eaters I've ever seen. He only eats a few different things, one of which is hot dogs, but he won't eat one unless it's been microwaved. We had a weenie roast one night by the fire and guess who wouldn't eat a hot dog? Mike. Luckily his grandma was happy to spoil him on vacation and walked up to the house and microwaved one for him.

"WOW! This is like the Hunger Games!" - Chloe & Mike

You can't live in Rimersburg, PA without owning a 4-wheeler, side-by-side or golf cart to ride around the trails (and often the small roads!). We must have gone on thirty rides during the week (the kids couldn't get enough of this) spotting animals, checking out wildflowers and blasting up hills in the forest. The day before everyone was leaving, we were going on our final rides. I took the kids and headed out for a different path than Eric had taken them earlier....only to come across a ton of mud at the bottom. I got the golf cart stuck and before giving up and walking home for help, we tried to pull it out and took some time trying to think of a solution. Chloe quickly yelled out that this was like being in the Hunger Games (we'd watched the second movie the night before) and there had to be a way to get it out. Mike and Chloe chatted about how we'd get it out if we were in the HG while we walked back home. (I would lose. My dad and cousin Fred came to the rescue and pulled it out!)