Category Archives: Love

Traditions are Great – Especially When They Include Donuts

Hello friends. I hope you had a wonderful weekend. We sure did over here.

Our Friday night was filled with a thrilling trip to Home Depot to get supplies for Saturday’s big project: installing the kitchen backsplash! A whole family affair, my dad, brother and husband spent most of Saturday working their way around tight corners, windows and electrical outlets to turn our kitchen into this pretty picture.

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Well, almost pretty picture. There are still a few details to attend to, such as outlet covers and cabinets under the sink. But, this is progress people! Undertaking the kitchen as the first project on our new home was slightly nerve wracking, but we couldn’t be happier with the way things are turning out. Totally worth all the stress.

After a hard day’s work, Sunday was a little more low-key. James and I have started a new tradition: donut’s after church! Last week, on our way to church James suggested that we stop by the local fruit farm on our way home. While there wasn’t much fruit or vegetables to speak of at this time of year, to our great surprise, there was a whole array of donuts from Reese’s and Oreo to blueberry and apple cider glaze.

These donuts are absolutely fantastic – as was evidenced by the family in front of us in the donut line. Two young parents and their three young daughters were selecting donuts for a dozen count. The little girls were yelling out “Daddy, I want the sprinkle ones! I want the sprinkle ones!” And, he was very quick to respond, “You already got your sprinkle one.” Then turning to the lady he said, “I’ll take a Reese’s…um, a Maple Pecan…” It was very evident he planned to enjoy most of those 12 donuts himself.

We finally made our way up to the case, and after selecting our donuts headed out behind the fruit farm barn to enjoy a beautiful view of a local park and off in the distance, good ol’ Lake Erie.

James settled on a nice pair of old fashioned staples – strawberry and chocolate – and just look at him – happy as a clam!

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I opted for something a little more eye catching: vanilla with sprinkles 🙂

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This was by far the best donut I’ve ever had. I mean it puts Dunkin Donuts and Krispie Kreme to shame. The donut itself was so cake-like instead of the air-like texture you usually find yourself eating at those other places. I’m already counting down the days until our next Sunday donut.

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When our bellies were full of donuts, I started the usual Sunday routine of grocery shopping and meal prepping for the week. I must have been all hyped up on color after the sprinkle donut because I settled on making a quiche with this beautiful vegetable array of red and orange peppers and leeks. The quiche was not complete; however, without the un-pictured bacon and gouda cheese.

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A long day in my fantasically newly backsplashed kitchen really wore me out, so the rest of the day pretty much looked like this.

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We did a little bit of basking in the sun ourselves – only on our back patio – before heading over to my parent’s house for the usual Sunday night dinner. Now onto a busy week!

My Two Favorites

As we’ve been working on our new home for the past two months (we’re so close to the move in date!), I’ve frequently been asked “What are you most looking forward to when you’re all settled in?” My answer is always the same: cooking yummy meals for my friends and family of course! I can’t wait to be host to our friends for a taco and margarita game night. I can’t wait to serve wine and crostini to a small crowd gathered on our back deck overlooking the ravine as the sun sets behind it. Most of all, I can’t wait to invite my brothers and their girlfriends – or my potential sisters as I see it – around our dinner table for a warm home-cooked meal.

With these thoughts buzzing in my head as of late, I thought it appropriate to dust off a post from an old blog:

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I love these men. It’s weird to use the word “men” for boys who used to poke and kick and pinch me. It’s weird to use the word “men” for boys who used to watch Power Rangers and Batman movies with me, for boys who used to engage me in their Hot Wheels and G.I. Joe  play, for boys who used to crash on the couch with me after school, bowl of Cheetos in hand.

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I love these men. I miss flinging mushy leaves out of the old creek with them. I miss riding bikes along the old railroad tracks with them. I miss squishing onto a bunk bed along with 300 stuffed animals and them. I miss singing “You can build a cellar in a day, a cellar in a day. Even if it can’t be done, do it any way” as we spent an afternoon together watching the same old VCR tapes over and over again.

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I love these men. I look forward to having a beer in the bar many more beers in bars with them. I look forward to fulfilling the pact of spending a night on the beach-hoping we don’t get caught- now that everyone has turned 18. I look forward to collecting $2,000 dollars from a bet made when we were kids that Anthony would have a Corvette at age 16 and muscles like the guy on the Bowflex commercial. I look forward to meeting their wives, to being their kids favorite aunt, to fighting over who gets to take Dad in when he gets old.

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I love these men. That may be what I have to call them, but they’ll always be little brothers to me.

Coffee Quote Roundup

Hi friends. Anybody else just love coffee? The taste. The smell. The warmth.

Lately, I feel like I’ve been over-leaning on the stuff. Life has just been go-go-go, and I don’t think I’d make it through a work day without several cups of coffee. I used to have a rule about no coffee after 1 p.m. to avoid being up all night. Now, I’m having more than a cup after 3 p.m.

So, this post is an ode to my saving grace as of late – a round-up of my favorite coffee quotes.

I truly believe I could get by in life with just these two things: love and coffee. You know that age-old elementary essay question: if you’re going to an island and you can only choose three things to bring with you – what would they be? Well, I’m already down to one item, because my first two would be love and coffee.

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This quote is a double whammy – a great way to live and a great play on words.

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And, finally, the truth we’ve always known revealed:

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Question of the Day: What’s your favorite way to enjoy coffee?

The Book That Inspired Me to Forget Calories & Love Food

Happy Monday!

We had a weekend full of friends and family and holiday cheer that I’ll definitely have to recap in another post. I spent a lot of time with a pretty good book this weekend that I wanted to share – an absolute must read if you enjoy reading cookbooks for fun like I do. The author of this book, Shauna Niequist, actually reads cookbooks in bed just like I do!

This great read; however, is nothing like your typical recipe book. Bread and Wine: A love letter to life around the table with recipes could make you laugh, cry and most of all, never give a damn about a calorie ever again.

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What I love about this book is that Shauna shares parts of her life, special moments or memories, that she then follows with an associated recipe. And, she’s so identifiable because she doesn’t just share her sunshine and rainbow moments. She shares it all. The ups and the downs. I really have never had such an intimate experience with a book.

She starts the book with a note that ends:

“My prayer is that you’ll read these pages first curled up on your couch or in bed or in the bathtub, and then after that you’ll bring it to the kitchen with you, turning corners of pages, breaking the spine, spilling red wine one it, and splashing vinegar across the pages, that it will become battered and stained as you cook and chop and play, music loud and kitchen messy.

And more than anything, I pray that when you put this book down, you’ll gather the people you love around your table to eat and drink, to tell stories, to be heard and fed and nourished on every level.”

Every chapter thereafter rings true with this note of learning to love food and to love sharing food around your table. She has inspired me to slow down in the kitchen and appreciate every chop, ever stir. She has inspired me to slow down at the dinner table, mentally photographing the people and their reactions to the stories being told.

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I encourage you to grab a copy for yourself during the holiday sales or even to give one as a gift this season if you’re looking for something last minute!

I knew I was going to love this book the minute I read the introduction to Part One – a quote from A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh – and I hope you’ll love it too!

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said.

I mean come on guys, that’s a pretty wise bear – I couldn’t agree more with him, and the author of Bread and Wine, that breakfast can be the exciting thing that’s going to happen to you today.

Making Candles

If there’s one thing I don’t mind spending money on, it’s candles. Although, I still do browse around for a deal; I’d buy a candle in Marshalls before I’d buy one from a Yankee Candle store.

I like to light one or two just about every night to make the living room feel a little cozier.

We recently went to The Candle Lab to make our own candle! Although it was a short experience, it was still a fun one. The best part was picking out the different scents to mix.

Our list was obviously an explosion of holiday scents. We were told we could pick three to combine. It was an incredibly difficult task, but we eventually narrowed it down to hot cocoa, whipped cream and hazelnut.

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They gave us the three scent bottles and let us pour a combination of the three we thought best. We went heavy on the hot coca with just a touch of whipped cream and hazelnut – just like making a drink 🙂

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We were also given a small sticker to make a label for the top of the candle. I chose to write Merry Christmas! on ours and stick it on James coat, like a button, instead.  During the hour it took for the candle to set, we walked around a small town and eventually wandered into a paper store that still had some old printing presses set out for a holiday celebration. So, we printed ourselves this little tree ornament and then sat down to color in the bulbs. There were many small eyes wondering why big people were stealing their crayons.

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Our candle was all wrapped up for us and now waits for the larger candle before it on our coffee table to burn out, so it can start its glory days of filling our home with the sweet smell of hot cocoa. I can’t wait for that smell that reminds me of coming inside from building a snowman or a snow fort, peeling off layers of soggy clothes (remember overall snow pants?!), and settling in with a pile of marshmallows and a little bit of hot chocolate to warm my hands.

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We really enjoyed ourselves, and I’d definitely recommend this activity as a way to mix up a date night or spend an afternoon away from the television.