Monday, March 20, 2017

Make It: Rainbow Grilled Cheese

Yay! It's the first day of Spring! To celebrate I wanted to bring you some rainbows. I mean we've had plenty of rain right? It's time for things to turn. And if I can't promise the type in the sky, we can do one better. How about tasty, cheesy, yummy ones? 

Gathering ingredients 

We actually tried this last week for an early St. Patrick's day celebration, but I think they are useful for so many had a bad day and need a pick me up. A colorful party nibble. A Unicorn party. Or just because. Did you grow up in a family that would occasionally color their pancakes? Steve is and has fond memories of it. I consider this the 2017 version of colored pancakes! 

Mixing in coloring

We picked up two packages of shredded white cheddar cheese (over 2 cups worth), and also bought sourdough bread. We already had the food coloring on hand. We decided on four different colors so we just separated the cheese into bowls and added the food coloring based on how vibrant we wanted the color (about 5-7 drops a bowl). 

Ready to make rainbows!

Then it is just a matter of arranging the grated cheese in a rainbow pattern on the bread and grilling it up. I found the only tricky part was making sure not to drop a bunch of colored cheese in the pan when setting up your sandwiches in the pan. 

Making rainbows!

Once you have the cheese in place it's just time to grill them up and enjoy! We had a bunch of fun cutting them partially and pulling them apart to play with the cheese! And of course you are left with colorful, cheesy sandwiches. So, here's to Spring and the sighting of many rainbows! Real or otherwise! 

Rainbow goodness! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Make It: Denim Embroidery DIY


Every once in a while I get the itch to personalize my clothing. My daughter Samantha has been using embroidery to add a touch of fun to a bunch of different outfits and once I saw the above photo in an e-mail I knew I wanted to try my hand at it! Using google image search I was able to find where the photo came from. It happened to be from a DIY from Honestly WTF which was really helpful! 

Gathering supplies 

I bought the jeans at the Gap and being somewhat on the short side I had no problem with cutting off the hem. I just did a bit of a freehand and thankfully it turned out even! I have teased that my daughter is somewhat of an impatient crafter and I think that may apply to me as well! 

Getting started 

Samantha had all the supplies I could need. I did a small tracing of the lettering with a white pencil I had to give me a guideline. And then I just went for it. I tried using a chain stitch which is well illustrated in the Honestly WTF link. Once you start it's a pretty easy stich to master. 

Almost finished 

Once started things moved along quickly and I think I was done in about 20 minutes! I was pretty happy to have made a regular pair of jeans into something a bit special. 

The finished product

The ease of doing this has me dreaming of tackling a bunch of other projects! I'm thinking t-shirts or sweatshirts will be next. Studio DIY has another great guide with pointers on how to set up a template when I get to those! Do you see yourself trying anything like this? 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Field Trip: Treehouse Point

Recently Steve and I made a lifetime dream happen. We have heard of a lot of unfortunate events near us that made us realize that the time is now to make things happen. And something we had been thinking of doing for some time is visiting Treehouse Point. Who wouldn't love sleeping in a treehouse? And that they are available as near as Fall City what were we waiting for? 

Fountain and signage for treehouse

The minute you drive onto the property you feel transported. The grounds are gorgeous and a bit wild, with a centerpiece of a fountain. You can see a treehouse or two right when you pull in. And the lodge is welcoming. Steve was happy to find it was a source of homemade cookies and other snacks! They also have a small merchandise area in case you need something to commemorate your stay. 

Lodge interior 

The greeting is low key and welcoming. We were told how the gate works (apparently they had to install one and create a tour program to help balance those that were curious about the treehouses with privacy of those that are staying in them. Everything is secured with codes which makes it really easy to get around and into your treehouse. 

Bonbibi at first sight 

And then it's on to your treehouse for the night! We had secured Bonbibi for the night and were happy to find it's in a fairly quiet area on the property. It does not have it's own bathroom but there are two full bathrooms at the base of it with heated floors and showers! 

The magical grounds in the evening

The grounds and the treehouses have wonderful lighting with some on motion sensors or timers. It makes for a quietly relaxing environment. Nothing takes very much thought and it feels like you are in Narnia, or the setting for the Hobbit. 

The lovely provisions provided 

The rooms have most things you could think of provided. All you have to bring is basically warm clothes and plan for your meals, besides the breakfast they provide. There are games, gorgeous flowers, and ice chests if you would like the use of them. 

The view from the bed

When we moved in we opened a window, threw the big woolly blanket that we brought, and threw ourselves on the bed to just take it in. I think the window stayed open the whole time we were there (the treehouses are fully heated) so that we could listen to the river and the wind. Steve just relaxed while I took a little snooze. Being in this sweet little space was a bit like being on a boat. Listening to it rain and just hanging out was enough. The last time we were able to hang out together like this had been ages. I don't remember being so relaxed. 

Playing cards into the night

Aside from leaving for a bit for dinner at the nearby Fall City Roadhouse (that just happened to be used in Twin Peaks!) we were back to just hang out. We ended up playing games until late and enjoying the sound of the wind and rain in the trees. We were able to keep a window open all night and were still toasty warm with the heat. We woke to the magic of snow falling which made the visit complete for Steve. 

Until next time...
They serve a wonderful breakfast at the Lodge where there are so many options, vegetarian and otherwise. The staff helps break the ice by joining in with coffee and encouraging everyone to visit one another's treehouses, though we were with a shy group and no one took us up on it! (we were hoping to get a glimpse into Temple of The Blue Moon!) It was suggested by one of the staff that people tended to mix a bit more in the summer around the fire pit that they provide (along with s'more fixings!) and tend to keep to themselves a bit more in the winter months. No matter, we were so happy with our time in the trees. Let me know if you end up heading there yourself! 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Field Trip: Mister Ice Cream in Vancouver, Canada

Mister signage 

Last weekend we capped off our day trip to Vancouver with a visit to a place I have always wanted to try. Mister in Vancouver is an ice cream shop, but one with a twist. They make your ice cream to order...with liquid nitrogen. 

The process

You end up with a creamy delicious treat and a bit of a show to boot! Steve chose Double Oreo, Sam a Creme Brûlée with lavender, and I ordered a Thai Tea flavor. Because Sam's was a creme brûlée they even finished it off with a sugar crust and a torching! Even more of a show. 

Our trio of flavors

One of my favorite things about getting out and about and trying new things is getting inspired. This was certainly inspiring. Steve is wondering about bringing some liquid nitrogen home and seeing if we could make some magic of our own! I'll let you know if we make something happen! 

Steve with his treat

Monday, February 20, 2017

Field Trip: Day Trip to Vancouver

Colorful storefronts

Like a few of you out there, I have been suffering with a head cold. It's been dragging along for a while now. And along with this I have a bad case of cabin fever. While waiting out the sickness to get better we decided to tackle the cabin fever with a quick day trip to Vancouver Canada. 

Cookie choices

We like to explore a place with loose agenda then see where things take us. We started with the idea that we would explore the Chinatown neighborhood as it's one we haven't checked out yet. Once we picked an area Samantha did some quick research and found a starting place. 

Creme brûlée and cookies

Crackle Creme is the sweetest little place for treats. Do you like creme brûlée? They do a variety of small batch flavors. Would you prefer a liege waffle? They have those too! Or hot chocolates, espressos. Or what Samantha was really excited about...these amazing cookies! They had such a variety it was hard to choose. But knowing we would be spending most of our day eating we split a creme brûlée, a waffle and some cookies between us. A perfect, sweet start to the day! 

A variety shop

Then we were off exploring. We walked the blocks around the area and just being tourists. We wandered the stores and spent some time in a tea shop sampling some teas and settling on a few to bring home. We took in the color and sights. And we just appreciated being in a different city for the day. 

Sam and I 
There is something about being in a big city. The energy, the color, the differences. We love just wandering around and taking things in. And of course the food! 

Joe Pizza 

Then you know it was time for a snack again so we thought pizza by the slice would be perfect! We found Joe Pizza and settled in for a quick pizza by the slice break. A slice of margherita and one of parma later and we were good to go for more adventures! 

Community Thrift Frock Shoppe

Then it was off to our other favorite activity...thrifting. We found Community Thrift in nearby Gastown. They have two stores and both were amazing. Sam found the Vintage Frock Shoppe to be right up her alley and came out with a few things. I found the Unisex shop to be more my speed...lots of t-shirts, army shirts, and the like. Both are well curated and fun shopping experiences! 


Then, it was time to eat again! Back again to Chinatown to a place we had spotted earlier, Fat Mao for some noodles. We each ordered a different dish, the passed the plates to share! This little restaurant was so good! Each noodle dish was incredibly different in flavor. And it turns out they are one of three restaurants started by the same chef. Now we have a starting point for another trip! We can't wait to try Freebird Chicken! I'll be sure to tell you all about it when we go! Been on an adventure of your own recently? Battling cabin fever? Tell me how you manage it! 

Monday, February 6, 2017

On My Radar: Valentine's Day Prep

Are you one to celebrate Valentine's day? I have to admit I'm a believer. I don't know if it was the thrill of the possibility of a secret admirer that little Valentine box held in elementary school and it has held all these years. Maybe it's because once I actually did receive a Valentine from a secret admirer...from then on I was hooked. On the romance, the possibility, the fun of it all! 

Valentine's waiting to go out 

These days my Valentine dreams center around our girls, my husband and my friends. Letting them know how much I love and value them. Surprising them with a card, a treat, or a note telling them how much they mean to me. Sometimes we need a prompt to remember to let people know how much they mean to us. This one is mine! 

My Valentine 

And any celebration is either treats and fun at breakfast or a dinner with a special dessert. We love spending the time with the girls, talking about their perceptions of romance, and our changing ideas around it. We are pretty low key these days, though we have a get away later this month that I'm pretty excited about (I'll share about it here, I promise!) 

Vintage Valentines

Every Valentine's Day calls for some kind of special treat. This year I am especially excited about it! We have ordered a cake from my friend Nancy of Saltadena. And if you are in the Bellingham area you can get your hands on one of these beauties too! 

They are 3", three-layer mini cakes for two with the cutest theme..."We Go Together Like..."

Saltadena's Valentine Cakes 

The flavors are (left to right) Salt & Pepper, PB & J, and Chocolate & Hazelnut. (we picked out Salt & Pepper if you are curious!) They are $15 each, come boxed with a cute ribbon and customizable tag and pre-orders can be picked up at Spruce between 4-7 on Valentine's Day. Just e-mail Nancy at the address found here before February 10th! And maybe I'll run into you at Spruce picking up our cakes! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Preparing to Launch

Though Steve and I have joked that we don't remember when we became "grown up" at some point we found ourselves the parents of a daughter that had turned eighteen and told us and I quote, she was a "grown ass woman." Hmm. This is a phase of life that takes some navigating. It's tricky, it's troublesome, and it's new terrain for us. To say that there was lots of shouting in the beginning is an understatement. To say there was (and still occasionally is) misunderstanding on both sides is an understatement. 

Our daughter & lodger

Thankfully Steve and I have a counselor that helps us tremendously. We have found so much strength in having someone outside ourselves to talk to about navigating these new waters. And we come home with new tools for ourselves and our oldest, Kate. 

Kate's room

Thanks to his help we sat down as a family and wrote up a contract. We decided to treat ourselves as a landlord and Kate as a tenant. There is rent involved. And in our parent role we are available to answer any questions she has regarding taxes, cars, budgeting. Her sister is her sometimes unwilling first roommate. And we are her landlords.

Her own music set up

This may sound hardheaded. But I was one of that group that moved home with no rules, no rent, and no understanding of where the boundaries are. Trust me when I say I offended my Mom a lot and had no thought of what I had done. It was crazy making of both sides. We felt this would make things clear for all of us. 

The comments box 

Things have been unbelievably smooth since we put this all in place. We instilled a comment box and the main things that show up there are empty toilet paper rolls. We all joke that Kate's room is the most soothing place to be. She has the freedom of a tenant which has surprisingly given us the freedom to not worry. 

Kate's apartment stock up

It has forced us to be clear about things. When we go out as a family we make sure to say if we are paying or not. And when we do things for her she is always great about saying "thank you." We are getting to be part of her getting ready to move out, which is bittersweet. Though Sam is looking forward to having the whole upstairs to herself. But we know when she is gone we are one step closer to an quiet, empty nest. 

Anyone else in a similar place? How has the transition gone for you? Any helpful insight?