Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy things

This past weekend my little sister Caitlin turned 17! We celebrated with a trip to the Cheesecake Factory and some shopping in the city. It was a fun day that we all got to spend together as a family. Here’s a little snap of her right before she made a wish.

She is growing into such a beautiful woman and I am so excited to see her journey unfold. One of the gifts Caitlin asked for this year was a letter to hang on her door. She didn’t give me a whole lot of direction, but this is what I came up with. Hopefully it makes the college packing cut next year, we’ll see.

This weekend was also our first (& only) snow of the season! We had friends over and were so hopeful that the town would shut down the next day. Luckily for students it did, but for us working folk life carried on. We made the most of it though with a snowball fight, homemade snow cream and movie to warm up as we watched the snow continue to fall outside.I brought Louise outside for awhile too which was fun because she had never seen snow before!
And now, with our "big snow" out of the way we can officially look forward to Spring.

Cheers to happy things (!!)
and to celebrating them along the way.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentines Day Ma & Pops

My parents are both from small towns that look something you would see on a television show. Stores with tons of character, quirky little restaurants, lighthouses right off the shore and you can hear the ocean from just about anywhere.

They actually met in college (my dad was my moms RA) and were married soon after. After the birth of my older brother, my dad enlisted in the Army and my parents left their friends and families behind to start one of their own. They had 3 more children, all about 3 years apart in age and moved about 10 times before they settled down in northern Virginia.

The four of us were so blessed by both of them (& still are). They made such an effort to fill our childhood with adventures and memories we will cherish forever. Their love for us was evident by their actions and their words.

What wasn’t as obvious to me growing up was their deep love for one another. Sure, it was there but I didn’t recognize what a gift they had until much later. Even after over 25 years of marriage my dad still brings fresh flowers home unannounced, they make an effort to spend time together, they plan weekend getaways and they hold hands in public, just because. I am blessed to have them both and thankful for the example they have been to me.

Happy (belated) Valentines day Mom & Dad. I love you very much.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Recipes(!) :Tacos Al Pastor

I live with two of my closest friends and once a week we each cook a meal and eat together. This is great because we get to spend time together amidst our busy schedules, eat two meals a week we didn’t have to prepare and get a little creative in the kitchen!

Last year I lived in North Carolina and there was a local Mexican restaurant there that I loved. I went almost every week (sometimes more than once a week) and ordered the same thing every time, Tacos Al Pastor. I am usually the kind of person that is always up for trying new things, but this meal and I were in a committed relationship.

So recently I decided to find a recipe that came close to what I remember since I haven’t been able to find a place around here that makes them quite the same.

Here is what I came up with:

Tacos Al Pastor
Step one: Marinate the chicken (you could use pork too) overnight in sauce made up of the following: 1 small white onion chopped, ½ of a fresh Pineapple, a cup of orange juice, a little white vinegar, ¼ cup of chili powder, a few garlic cloves (to taste) , and a dash of kosher salt, oregano, and cumin. I put in some extra cumin just because I love it. You can also use fresh peppers to give it more of a kick but I used a spoon full of my favorite green chili salsa. Mix all of these ingredients in a blender until smooth. Then pour sauce into a ziploc bag with the chicken and chill overnight.

Step two: The next day grill the chicken outside or cook on the stove top until Its done. I used the stovetop because well, we live in an apartment. As it was cooking I cut up the chicken into little squares which helped with the preparation time. While the chicken sizzling on the stove cut up the other ½ of the pineapple, another white onion and some fresh cilantro. Serve on flour or corn tortillas with chicken, pineapple, onions, cilantro, salsa and some fresh lime juice!
This one is a keeper for sure, it was so good. Enjoy!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mid-day snap

Some veggies for lunch followed by a walk around town with little Louise is an afternoon well spent if you ask me. If only we had some chocolate lying around the apartment somewhere I'd be three for three. Happy Thursday!


Sunday, February 5, 2012

DIY: leather flower garland

I love to nest. Moving into a new apartment has been exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I see so much potential for fun little project around every corner. The hard part is just finding the time to do them all! One of the more recent projects I did was make this cute little flower garland out of leather scraps to hang above our dining area. Here are some simple instructions incase you want to make one of your own.

1. Supplies: You will need a pair of sharp scissors, a pretty strong needle, thread and whatever scraps of leather you can scrounge up.

2. First, cut out little circles of leather about the size of a bottle cap.

3. Then fold your little circle into quarters and poke your needle through both sides. This is your first petal!

4. Continue this process until you have 4 or 5 "petals" threaded and then take both ends of your thread and tie them together, creating one cute little leather flower.

5. The number of flowers you need will vary, but I just made them until my fingers were sore from pushing the needle through such thick leather. Once you think you have enough, thread them onto whatever string you wish to use and walah(!) you have successfully created a leather flower garland. Now pick a date to throw a cocktail party for all your friends to show off your handiwork.