Another Craigslist Find

I am happy to report that Craigslist has been a success once again! I troll almost daily, looking for exactly the right pieces to make out home function well. A few weeks back we acquired a beautiful antique china cabinet that fits our dining room perfectly. This weekend we picked up another great find: a cabinet for our bathroom.

The master bath has forever been cluttered thanks to a lack of storage. No cabinets, no shelves beyond the medicine cabinet. Extra supplies have lived on the counter or in our closet. It was time for another piece of furniture.

After weeks of searching “bathroom cabinet” and “white cabinet” a perfect fit popped up. Even better: it was in West Seattle and right on our way home from weekend activities. We picked it up, strapped it to the top of the mini (man that thing has hauled a lot of stuff!) and it is now sitting proudly in our CLEAN and ORGANIZED bathroom. Ok, not quite perfect but it was laundry day and the hamper was more than full. It looks great now :)

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Thank you Craigslist. Now if you can find me the perfect bench for the dining table, I would be extra grateful.

Fall Happenings

IMG_0923[1]A lot is happening in our little island life. Most obviously is the now prominent project overtaking our living room. Remember at the start of summer when we so carefully had the ceiling re-finished and everything painted and “done”? Ha. Done is never done when it comes to a house. The leak below the exterior door reappeared while cleaning the deck (that IS done!) and so we shuffled the priority list to replace the door. And while we are at it, why not make it a wider door?

After 3 estimates and lots of YouTube videos Matt decided to tackle the project himself. He is doing a great job. At this point the project is only open from the inside of the room but we are ready to install the new header and open up the door on Sunday. Next week we should be putting the room back together, have a nicely hung new (warmer!) door, new insulation and no leak!

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Last weekend I attended my friend Diane’s bachelorette party. It was fun, but I am feeling old when I would rather just go to bed at 9 o’clock than just be heading out to the bars. All in all it was a good celebratory weekend though. Tonight we head off to Bellingham for the wedding!

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Also new to our house is an antique cabinet that we have been hunting on Craigslist for MONTHS. The guy selling it was WAY overpriced in his expectation for it’s value. I have bought a lot of antiques on Craigslist and am good at spotting deals and fair prices. No wonder this one sat for 6+ months. It was too $$$. After 4+ phone calls and lots of detail about how much we wanted the cabinet we came to a price agreement that we could live with. It was still higher than it is “worth”, but worth it to us. Mainly because it is only 14” deep. You would not believe how hard it is to find a shallow cabinet! Plus it is the perfect design for our dining room. It is happily in place, filled with our dishware treasures and makes the room feel SO much bigger! Here is a preview from when were were loading it up:

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We also had a milestone for the family: Grandpo’s house sold. It is the end of an era but the beginning for a new family that has big plans and so much love for this cool house. On Sunday we ventured to Tacoma to take one last swim in the pool and hot tub before keys turn over to the new owners.

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Our garden is winding down. The last of the ripe tomatoes were picked and we are dehydrating them to store in olive oil. Yum! Last night we feasted on grilled eggplant from our garden, garnished with tuna, capers and cherry tomatoes. Yum!IMG_0930[1]

Overall life is good. We can feel the pace of things slowing down with Fall in the air. Traffic on the island is reduced by more than half. It is quiet and calm and cool at night. We are thinking of soup and bread and starting up the fireplace. It has been a great summer.

Fair-well to Summer

With sunshine and temps in the 70s, it was the perfect end to a glorious PNW summer. Matt and I made the most of it with our annual trip to the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, WA. Scone, corn dogs, ice cream, roller coasters, baby pigs, sunshine, Mutton Bustin and the Ferris Wheel at sunset were the perfect end to the warm weather.

We even snagged our annual jumping photo! Complete with awkward dad+stroller photo bomb. Oh well, it is hard enough to get someone to take the time to get A jumping photo let alone a re-do. This will have to work for this year!

We are getting back into Fall mode. House projects are wrapping up (hopefully before too much rain!) and the garden is ready for a final tomato harvest. We ordered a door for the back deck, so we are ready for the Saws-all to make it’s appearance on our big DIY project of widening the door and putting a new one in.

The next few weeks are pretty packed with wedding and cider pressing activity, but after that we will have a break to settle down, snuggle in and enjoy the cooler weather.

It Takes Two

As in two times as long to complete a project on a house. At least. I am happy to report that we have only a few hours of detail touch up work and our decks are DONE! Remember last year? Two optimistic islanders bought a cute little house that “barely needed any work”? Ha. We started repair on the rotting deck that summer (remember this Labor day post?) and I am not so pleased to report that we were still working on it on Labor Day 2014. However, it is ALMOST DONE!

Matt being at home has been a great help. Deck progress is being made, the kitchen is cleaner, and we have more time to think about more projects. I am getting overwhelmed with prioritization though. This past spring we tackled a large interior aesthetic project…drywall repair in our living room and basement. All was great until we were washing the deck this summer and realized that the leak that caused water damage (hence the repair work…) was still a leak. So now we need to replace the door to the deck. After three quote and lots of door pricing we have decided to go the economical DIY approach. Stay tuned for details and progress reports. Hopefully this one will be quicker than the deck.

More projects to think about: random little repairs, painting the hall and office, retaining wall in the garden, car port, chicken coop. Did I mention we feel like we have no time?

In the meantime we are figuring out balance in our new routine. Job searching has been frustrating for Matt, and my boss left at work so I am readjusting as well. We are budgeting more, balancing a lot of planned weekends, and feeling the exhaustion that comes at the end of a busy summer. It takes some extra patience, extra love and lots of communication to figure it all out.

Our garden was a great success. Tons of tomatoes, 3 eggplants still to pick, Spanish beans, purple jalapenos and lots of chard, broccoli greens (good braised) and hopefully some Brussels sprouts will start appearing.

Summer Finale: Surfing with Seals

Leaves are starting to turn. That was the first observation we made as the pack mini cooper zipped down the Washington coast. Fall is in the air. This was definitely an end of summer trip.

Matt and I took five glorious days to adventure the Oregon Coast. Camping, road tripping and most of all: surfing! After two great trips to Todos Santos we were ready to legitimize ourselves as surfers and tackle local, cold water.

Months ago we picked the week, and then managed to snag 4 nights at Nehalem Bay State park for camping. Those reservations fill up WAY in advance! We loaded the car, crossed our fingers for good weather and waves and set off.

Our campsite was good. What you would expect from an RV filled state park, but it did have hot showers, running water and was a quick 5 minute walk to the beach. We were blessed with dry weather, and even two days of sunshine.

The beach walk from our site was beautiful. Miles of fine grained sand, waves and treasures to find. We had fun running from the tide changes, taking photos and dipping our toes in the freezing cold Pacific. We were planning to surf in this? Are you nuts?!

Surfing was spectacular. The first day we rented two beginner boards like what we were familiar with from Mexico. We hiked in to Short Sands beach at Oswald West State Park and bundled up in our wet suits. Fully covered except for our faces, we were totally comfortable in the water. Not even a goose bump! We tackled the waves on our beginner boards and by the second day had leveled up to a REAL epoxy hard top board. Surfers we can legitimately say we are!

There were even seals playing in the surf with us. It was incredible. We are totally hooked.

Dinners were grilled melts with tomato soup. Smore’s for dinner. We hiked out to the beach for breakfast picnics on a sand dune.

On our surf recovery day we ventured along the coast to find a lighthouse, some new beaches, more supplies and ice cream at the Tillamook factory.

Oregon, you are a stunner. We will be back for more surf soon.

Details:

Camped at: Nehalem Bay State Park

Surf rentals: Cleanline Surf (Cannon Beach)

Surf beach: Short Sands

Brown Butter Ice Cream

This weekend was full of house projects. Sometimes home ownership is exhausting. And sometimes it is stressful…Sunday was both for us. We have been working hard on our decks, and realized halfway through cleaning one that our deck door is still leaking and causing water damage in the downstairs bedroom…where we just got drywall fixed. The project list is getting reshuffled and now the focus is replacing that door and fixing the leak before fall. Sigh. It was a lot to juggle through.

But we celebrated a glorious summer weekend with fresh garden veggies and homemade ice cream. That helped.


Brown Butter Ice Cream

This ice cream is so decadent (calories in homemade ice cream don’t count, right?!) but so good. The brown sugar gives the custard base a complex caramel flavor. I imagine that it would be a cleaner “brown butter” flavor with white sugar but we loved this ice cream. The recipe I referenced called for corn starch instead of an egg but we liked this less processed approach.

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs corn syrup
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, browned
  • vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt

Place the butter in a wide stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Let the butter melt then let it cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter is quite brown and smells toasted. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Mix the milk and cream in a heavy saucepan. Whisk the sugar and corn syrup into the milk mixture in the saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved, being careful not to let the milk boil over. Simmer lightly for about 5 minutes, then temper egg yolk and whisk to combine into hot milk. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, for about one minute. Remove from the heat.

Combine the cooked milk mixture with the cooled brown butter in a blender or food processor. Carefully blend milk at high speed, adding brown butter slowly until completely mixed and emulsified. Add in the vanilla and blend for another 30 seconds.

Cool the milk and butter mixture in the fridge for at least two hours, or overnight. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to instructions. Add the salt into the ice cream maker in the last few minutes of churning.

 

Home Grown Mint Cookie Ice Cream

Last weekend we broke in our ice cream maker. It was a wedding gift and really needed to be put to good use. We perused ice cream flavors and settled on homemade mint with crushed cookies. I found a few variations and eventually make my own take. Verdict: awesome! The mint flavor of freshly extracted mint is not like store bought or mint extract…it is much earthier and floral. Perfect for enjoying after a farm fresh meal. Even better out of antique bowls.

Garden Mint Cookie Ice Cream

2 cups cream

2 cups whole milk

3 egg yolks (though next time we plan to use 5)

1 cup sugar

2 cups fresh mint leaves and flowers

1 pinch salt

Crushed oreos or other sandwich cookies (we used Newman’s Own)

1. In saucepan, combine 1 cup cream and 1 cup milk. Add mint leaves and flowers. Heat until steaming and then turn off heat. Let sit 3o mins. Then reheat to steaming and let sit another 15 mins.

2. Pour mint liquid through a strainer to remove leaves. Return liquid to saucepan.

3. Add sugar and salt to the mint mixture and heat until just steaming. Temper egg yolks and add. Stirring constantly, cook over low heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 10 mins.

4. Remove from heat and add in remaining 1 cup cream and 1 cup milk (both cold). This will stop the cooking. Put mixture in fridge for at least an hour before putting in ice cream maker.

Churn in ice cream maker for 20 mins or until nearly done. Add cookies and churn until desired consistency.

Enjoy!