Garage Sale Treasures

We woke up Saturday morning too full of birthday cake to want a real breakfast, so Matt and I made coffee and shared a banana before heading out for a garage sale adventure. The annual West Seattle Garage sale started at 9, so we checked the map, put on our sneakers, and around 9:30 headed out to explore the neighborhood on foot. It was a beautiful slightly cool morning, perfect to walk in a t-shirt. We headed south first, finding our first treasure (two bright fabric tablecloths), then found our way headed north. It was a beautiful day so why not walk it all?

Our next find was a pair of cross country skis for Matt (which we put a deposit on since we did not have the cash on hand), some math shape blocks (remember those from elementary school???), a gold watch and finally our crown jewel of the day: an antique bamboo picnic basket like the one Matt grew up with! We still did not have any cash at this point, so we trekked over to the grocery store to pick up dinner stuff…and get cash back. Anything to outsmart the ATM fees! We walked back to the garage sale with the basket, and negotiated the price down to $12! Amazing deal…this one would be $40-$60 somewhere else!

We walked back to pay for the skis, and then finally home. When we got there we realized that we had been out walking for over 3 hours!

The day’s adventure was not over yet! We played a quick game of Carcassonne and then jumped on the ferry to Vashon to check out some houses! Our realtor showed us 4, none fit the bill. We did see a super cool beachfront craftsman that would have been perfect in a different time in our lives. It was just the wrong arrangement of land, and too much work to fix up. Beautiful home though, and really felt good to be in. We are back to waiting for the perfect place to come on the market. Patience 🙂

Dinner was leftover burgers in the backyard. What a perfect Saturday!

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Surprise 30th-and-a-half Party

In two words: epic success.

Matt’s party was better than I could have planned. Everything came together, the surprise was a surprise, and it was more appreciated (and needed) than I ever could have imagined.

Things really started months ago, when I tried to come up with a plan to make up for “missing” Matt’s 30th birthday for my best friend’s wedding. I conceived of the idea of a surprise half birthday party, and it really took hold. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I sent a stealthy Facebook message and a barrage of texts to everyone I could think of marking the date and time on their calendars. Originally planned as a pizza and game night, our freak amazing weather turned it into a backyard BBQ. Now the question was: how do I pull this off? With the party on Friday (also Matt’s day off) how to I pull together the house, décor, food and SURPRISE without him knowing what was up? My sweet husband supplied the solution to this quandary all on his own: let’s have a couples game night BBQ (aka: the married friends that Lauren brought into our group). Perfect! They were all invited anyway so it was the perfect setup. Matt meanwhile invited all his single buddies over the NEXT weekend for a guy’s game night when I am at school.

Since we were having people over, Matt was in full prep mode on Friday: clean the house, make burgers from scratch, weed whack the back yard. He did not even question the fact that we were making WAY too many burgers for a small group of friends (Oh yea baby, I know we don’t need that many. We can just freeze the extras for more BBQs this summer! Brilliant!) I hid the extra set of buns, and snuck the awesome Safeway cake into the house while he was busy working in the back yard with earplugs in.

Around six o’clock his buddy Matt showed up (invited to both parties so this made no waves). They were handing out in the back yard when Jeff arrived, bringing Matt’s favorite beer. Matt was all confused, and figured Jeff mixed up the dates for this weekend and next, and Jeff played along and it was great. Not even three minutes later, Ross arrives, totally throwing Matt off with surprise! We break the news that the BBQ was to celebrate him and from then on there was a permanent smile plastered to my sweet husband’s face. He was amazed when his buddy Chris showed up, then Michael and Brianna, and both his brothers with their ladies. His whole wedding line-up was there and that is an impossible group to pull together!

We cooked burgers and hotdogs, ate tons of food, and sang happy half birthday to him in the backyard. Matt even got to make a little speech which he said made up for his regret that he did not say more public “thank yous” at our wedding.

After a long week of work stress, this was exactly what Matt needed to remind him how much he is loved. It was wonderful to see the pure joy on his face for a true surprise party (which he has always wanted), and have a great time with friends.

Surprise birthday: success.

A Few of my New Favorite Things

Sunshine in Seattle! It will be the perfect afternoon to take a house hunting trip out to Vashon. A few new places are on the market, so we are going to check them out…even if it means I have to attend class tonight from my phone. Thank goodness for technology!

On Sunday I had a wonderful lunch with my mother in law at a great place near our house: Chaco Canyon. Everything is organic and vegan and AMAZING! I had a vegan ruben made with homemade seitan…YUM! I was blown away. We will be back again for sure!

After a full afternoon of homework, it was good to relax with Matt and just eat leftovers for dinner. An easy end to the weekend.

Today I wanted to introduce my new sidekick: my bkr water bottle! These glass bottles with silicone sleeves are awesome, and so much better than my metal or plastic ones. I ordered a bright orange one and love it! Late new year’s resolution (again): drink more water!

Return of the Eggs

I am going to start and end this post with the same statement: I cannot wait to have our own chickens.

I have been on an egg hunt. Organic? Free range? (which is debatable on what that actually means) Vegetarian fed? Normal? White? Brown? Each time I go to the grocery store I am disappointed with what I get. Regardless of the egg I choose, it is usually pretty bland, light colored and just, well, blah.

We had chickens for a few years when I was growing up, and THOSE are the eggs I want. Rich yellow yolks, fresh, multicolored eggs. Just look at this difference!

Farm Fresh vs Conventional Eggs - Side by Side

 We are able to have chickens in the city…our neighbors just got some actually…but Matt and I don’t want to start that project just to move them (hopefully!) later this year to a new house.

So in the meantime I am still on a quest. We needed eggs this week and I choose the organic eggs at Costco. Major disappointment. I will be returning them today. Luckily I do have a friend that brings eggs into the city from her parents farm, so I can pick up 2 dozen this afternoon. Maybe I will start making more of an effort to get to the farmers market too.

I cannot wait to have our own chickens.

Celebration Dinner Date

Last night was a date night. And an absoultly outstanding one at that. Matt and I went to La Rustica for our second date a few years back, and have since considered it a special occasion place to go back down memory lane and celebrate special events. That being said, we were worried that our amazing Medeteranin honeymoon meals would spoil out local Italian place. We ate some seriously mindblowingly fabulous meals in all different regions of Italy, and came back pretty spoilt. Would our favorite place in West Seattle live up to the “real thing” in Italy? We made a point to find out. Every spring La Rustica sends out an anniversary coupon that we use to knock $10 off our dinner to celebrate something. Last year we celebrated Leap Day. This year we celebrated my promotion at work.

So how was our date night? Did the food live up to our semtimental attachement AND honeymoon memories?

I am VERY pleased to report that it did. And then some. It was a hard choice of what to order, but both dishes and our appetizer were top notch. We started with Frittelle di Risotto con Mozzarella, (Rice fritters stuffed with mozzarella, anchovies and served with a mild tomato sauce). Great choice. (of course by this time we had already gone through a whole basket of their house made garlic foccocia) We were blown away with the fabulous main dishes we shared, in particular the wild boar cheeks with polenta. It was amazing. We had wild boar in Tuscany and so we naturally had to give it a try in West Seattle too. It was probably one of the top 5 dishes I have ever eaten. Really really good. We also had linguine bolognese with lamb mint meatballs. Can you say stuffed? We were so full by the end of our meal I practically had to roll out the door. Wine by the carafe and a charming, authentic small shared table atmosphere took us right back to our honeymoon. We were in Italian food heaven bliss. At the end of our meal we did decide to order dessert, but in true “us” tradition had it to-go so we could eat it at home. This year we ordered the tiramisu…I would recommend the chocolate ganache cake instead.

Thank you La Rustica. You truly are a gem for the West Seattle culinary experience!

Car Woes

So this morning around 2AM my car got sandwiched in front of our house. Total hit and run. We had the police out here (Matt heard it happen) and we got a police report but my back bumper is pretty smashed up. It was too dark to really see the extent of the damage. We were up most of the night waiting for police, so between that and waiting to check out the car in daylight I will be into work late, if at all today. We are not sure if it is drivable.

What a way to start a Friday.

When the Sun Comes Out…Things Happen

Seattle has been a bit, how to I put this?…grey, this spring and summer. And wet, I might add.

Yesterday we got a visit from the long lost sun, and we enjoyed it!

In preparation for Matt’s friend Chris’ 30th birthday dinner (we were cooking for him) I went to the store to pick out some salmon, fresh strawberries, and an extra can of garbanzo beans. On the way home I had the strangest encounter ever. An older gentleman from Florida offered to be my sugar daddy.

Yep, you read that right. We were stopped at an intersection in my neighborhood and he asked me for directions. After telling him out to find his way to California Ave he asked me if I was seeing anyone. Yes, I am engaged. Then he offered to take me to Europe if my fiancé would not mind. I am pretty sure he would! So then the offer dropped back to Brooklyn, and then to just monthly shopping trips for him to buy me stuff. Wow. Yes, that seriously happened. I politely declined and went on my way. I immediately called my best friend Jenny and we had a good laugh on the phone. At least I know I have a backup plan, right Matt? 😉

Anyway, we had a great dinner with Chris. Fresh kale and chard cooked with bacon, organic sweet potatoes, and grilled honey mustard wild sockeye. We even got to eat on the deck! It was wonderful. For Chris’ birthday dessert I whipped up a garbanzo bean chocolate cake…seriously yummy protein packed treat. We ate it with fresh strawberries and local whipping cream. Yum.

Happy Birthday Chris! We were honored to celebrate with you!

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The culinary adventures continue with a simple yet uber satisfying pasta smothered in fresh home canned tuna (a gift I got years ago! luckily it was still good!) and heirloom tomatoes.