Another Season

Nothing gets your house clean like company. With a limited window between moving in and starting my final year of grad school, this past Saturday was the only realistic day to host a housewarming party this year. So we put it on the calendar and hoped that we could have the house ready in time. I am happy to report that after months of living out of boxes, the final 24 hours prior to the party we transitioned the house from a moving/project war zone into its current state as a clean, comfortable, cozy home. Matt’s parents came over and helped and it made all the difference. Both bathrooms are clean top to bottom, all the hardwood swept and mopped, kitchen cleaned, and all the extra boxes moved to the spare bedroom. The morning of the party we were still scrambling. Matt’s dad and I took two full car loads of recycling (mostly broken down cardboard boxes) to the recycling station and unloaded it in the dumping rain. The house feels amazing! I took a few before photos, and an “after” movie tour of the house, but won’t be able to post them yet. Just know that our house looks wonderful.

The party was great! We did not have a huge crowd, but a great group none the less. Lots of family and some friends from all different parts of our lives. Matt whipped up some great pulled pork, and everyone brought yummy things to share. Outside we got a record breaking downpour of rain, but inside was warm and cozy.

We played games with Maggie and Bryan till after dark, and then right after saying goodbye to them, Chris showed up! It was so great to see him, and we played a few more games before crashing for the night. In the morning, Matt made coosh coosh and eggs, and we toured Chris around our property so he could tell us what all our plants are. We have quite the landscape to get under control next year! I am so excited to be here for a full growing season and put our dream of growing more food into practice.

A quiet evening at home was the perfect end to our weekend. The house was clean, I worked on school prep, and Matt made a decadent cheese bread pudding, chanterelles and leftover pulled pork for dinner. We ate at our dining room table and glowed with love for our house, each other, and our life. It is a good change to the new season on the island.

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Cruzan Roots

With my pasty white PNW skin and blond hair long replaced by brown it is hard to tell that I ever was a Caribbean gal. I spent five years of my childhood living on a small USVI island called St. Croix and experiences from those years can take credit for some of my most fundamental beliefs, values, interests and cultural identities.

This weekend I got to relive some of my Cruzan roots since my aunt-in-law hosted her somewhat-annual Caribbean party! Complete with a steel drum player (really impressive actually), limbo, great food, and SUNSHINE (!) it was a great. Yes, most people showed up in Hawaiian shirts, and most of the food was totally not Caribbean, but it was a blast.  I made a Cruzan rum cake that was a total hit and gone before the party was even halfway over. Matt’s dad made a limbo stick and guess who won? Me! Guess growing up watching the limbo helped. 🙂 Now I am the proud owner of a steel drum party CD! Breaking that out (along with the limbo stick!) at our housewarming party in September! It will also be good to blast as we pack for Grand Cayman in two weeks!

After lots of laughter and too much rum punch Matt and I spent the night at Grandpo’s house so that we could make him breakfast and then run errands. Breakfast was Matt’s new signature dish: buckwheat buttermilk pancakes. Grandpo declared they were the best buckwheat pancakes he had ever eaten and ate as many at Matt!

We had a few places on our errand list, which of course turned into an ENTIRE afternoon of shopping. Our second freezer is up and running so we are now able to stock up on Costco meat and other long term goodies! We made it home around 4:00 and spent the afternoon cooking and getting ready for the week. Project: deck makeover!

Late Summer Party in Ferndale (aka: Second Wedding Reception)

All these honeymoon posts (and work, and school and life!) have been slowing down my normal life posts! (and yes, the honeymoon posts are still coming). A few weekends ago Matt and I went up to Ferndale to see my parents, go crabbing, and have a second wedding reception. Now, when we say wedding reception what we really mean is a party using our leftover wine, champagne and decorations from the wedding! Nothing formal about this event!

We had a beautiful evening out at the beach feasting on crab with friends. Our friend Beth and her mom made it up too and we taught them the ways of crabbing from a canoe in the PNW. Nothing beats fresh crab on the beach.

The next day we feasted again (cake buffet, round 2 anyone?) and celebrated with a whole slew of friends from Whatcom County. Parties are so fun! Next one planned: cider pressing!

Leave it to the fiancé to save the bachelor party…

My epic bachelorette party was a few weeks ago…now it is Matt’s turn. It has been a rough road getting here. Matt’s guys were not really motivated to pull anything together, but finally came up with a plan. A plan that was thwarted with the threat of a burn ban.

They had found a great, small “100 miles from the nearest person” campground just on the other side of the pass that was perfect for their boys weekend. However, we have a burn ban. So they started looking for alternatives. What came up? Family campground after family campground. One after the other. None were going to be right a group of guys trying to get away and be loud and crazy in the woods. Matt was crushed. And stressed out. They leave in two days! So what did I do? I called the ranger station just to check to see if the burn ban actually applied to campfires. Low and behold…it does not (at this level at least, it could go up but they said it was unlikely at this point). Woohoo! I emailed Matt at work with the good news. He was thrilled! The boys are going camping!

Fish Lake, here they come!

Fish Lake

4th of July – Sunshine, Fireworks & A Trip to the ER

Matt and I BOTH had the 4th of July off this year! Woohoo! It was the first one in about 5 years that he was not working. We took advantage of the slow morning and had breakfast and prepped some food to take to a 4th of July party. I chugged away at the computer organizing and ordering wedding stuff while Matt made some deviled eggs (which apparently “deviled” refers to adding spice to them, and technically what my mom made growing up (no spice) are simply “stuffed eggs”). Then we decided to clean some dishes and hit the road. Well, that is where our day got interesting.

I was washing dishes and was cleaning the big, sharp chef’s knife when the blade managed to slice my right index finger knuckle. All of a sudden I could see bone and tendon and things that were NOT skin…there was no blood or pain…but I knew right away that the pain might start and I needed to sit down so I would not faint. I put pressure on my finger and Matt jumped right in to get me laid on the floor. The pain and blood never came so we were lucky, and it kept us calmer (I also realized that I had very amazingly missed all the important stuff in my knuckle and was VERY lucky!) as we called the doctor.

I knew I needed stiches, but EVERYWHERE was closed on the 4th of July. Even 911 was not sure where to send us! Finally our family doctor called back and said the ER was really the only place open so we headed to Capitol Hill. At 11:30 in the morning we missed the rush of burn/drunken ER visits and managed to get in and out in about an hour. We were so relieved! I got 4 stiches and we were able to make it to Jeff’s party almost still on time!

Jeff and Anna’s was great. They live in an apartment building with a perfect view of Lake Union backdropped by downtown Seattle. We had two kegs on the deck and tons of great food, and hung out in the sunshine on the roof until fireworks at 10:10. It was a great 4th after all!

I tell you what though, a holiday on a Wednesday makes working the rest of the week really rough. I am so excited for the weekend! Seattle International Beer Festival here we come! It’s me and my dad’s father/daughter annual event and this year Matt gets to come! Woohoo! Mama Carter is even going to tag along 🙂 Good family bonding before the wedding!

Once in a lifetime – Bachelorette Party!

8 wonderful ladies +

1 awesome old, Craftsman house +

4 palates of rainbow eye shadow +

11 80’s dresses +

1 bag of goodwill earrings +

2 taxis +

6 magnums of Cooks

= one amazing bachelorette party weekend in Portland!

Yep, that about sums it up! On Friday morning I hopped in the car with my Seattle carpool gals, Diane and Crystal and made the trek down to Portland. We laughed the whole way, getting epically lost thanks to some really odd iPhone directions and U turns. A quick stop at Goodwill added hot pink shoes and earrings to my outfit. We met up with Ellie at the Little Red Farmhouse (an awesome old Craftsman house near Beaverton that we rented for the weekend). We had a few hours before the other ladies arrived so we went to the grocery store to stock up on goodies. More laughter and adventures ensued at Fred Meyer, then the liquor store, then BACK to Fred Meyer to get things we forgot. We were quite the crew!

Back at the house we started getting ready in our 80’s finest. Rainbow makeup, BIG hair, side pony tails…then the dresses! Good thing we had two bathrooms to get ready in. 8 girls = lots of mirrors needed!

 

We snapped some photos on the porch and then took taxis downtown to McMenamins for dinner. A few drinks later and we were ready to dance! I have been looking for a good 80’s night since leaving college and have been unsuccessful…until now. The Crystal Ballroom did not disappoint! The huge dance floor was jam packed with tons of people dancing and rocking out to the best of the 80’s. We danced straight through till 1:30. It was exhausting and SO much fun! (more photos of the night out to come in a later post when I get the thumb drive from Jenny!)

Saturday was a little rough for all of us, so there was lots of napping as well as a trip to Portland’s Saturday Market and 23rd Street. The low key day was a great way to recover from our epic night out.

What a wonderful group of ladies to celebrate with. Most of them only knew me and maybe one other girl, but by the end of the weekend we were a pretty close knit little pack. Thank you ladies for making my weekend so special! I am up for another 80’s night in Portland anytime!

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I made it home in time to meet Matt when he got off work. What a great guy…he surprised me with a clean house and a huge hug. I love that Moose.

I spent the afternoon mowing and weeding the garden, then we sat down and started planning our port adventures for the cruise. Whoohoo!!

Now I need a nap.

Bachelorette Countdown

Oooooweee!! Bachelorette party weekend coming up! 4 more days and I will be rocking a sweet 80s wedding dress with some of my best girlfriends in Portland. I cannot wait!

Things to do:LC's Portland Bachelorette Weekend

–          Find my pink 80s shoes

–          Find some earrings

–          Borrow a crimper or 3 barrrel iron (or both!)

–          Make a veil/headband

–          Buy some champagne from Costco

–          Coordinate carpools

–          Pack!

Dear readers, be prepared for some glorious photos coming soon!