Frosted New Year

The end of 2015 was full for us. Even with our house mid-construction, we had a very Christmasy season with 5 days of family celebration and cheer. Matt got me the most thoughtful surprise gift: a Griswold cast iron muffin pan…one that I had been coveting for ages and then totally forgot about! We have made epic cornbread muffin 4 times in the new pan and let me tell you, oy! They are good!

I spent the week leading up to Christmas making mobile after mobile as gifts. I am refining my technique and cannot wait to make more! Next up is settling on a name for my little company and selling these beauties locally and maybe on Etsy.

Matt and I collected seaglass a few times but with winter tides it is hard to fit them in during daylight up here. Then on New Year’s, he and his brother explored a new beach and found my new favorite hunting grounds: perfectly tumbled and abundant seaglass!!! I have completely overhauled my previous collection in favor of these gems. We have collected three times now and it has been so fun to sort these beauties. Lots of pretty pastels, including my first pink!

In addition to frosted glass, 2016 has been filled with frost of the cold winter variety as well. The ground has been frozen for the past few mornings and we were treated to a snowfall Sunday afternoon. It did not stick around (much to Matt’s dismay) but it was beautiful to watch.

Happy 2016!

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Madison: Mid-Winter

I am sitting in a coffee shop in Madison, WI waiting for an email chain to close up for work. There is a fresh layer of snow and the sun is shining gloriously. Oh, yea, and it is 1 degree out there. Brr! Good thing I found a great latte.

This thin skinned Washington girl got quite the shock with the temperature drop when landing here last night. It was 55 or so when I left Seattle yesterday mid-morning, and things are blooming everywhere in an early Spring. Madison is still in the dead of winter. And it is a treat!

What prompted a mid-winter trip in freezing temps? My best girlfriend Jenny! We were LONG overdue for a reunion and decided to just make it happen. Today we are both working, but tomorrow starts a long weekend of catching up, cooking, eating out, adventuring and more catching up. Jenny and I lived together for two years in college and have already seamlessly fallen back into routine. We have the exact same bath towels, the same basket for our hair dryers, and keep comparing notes on how similar our husband’s quirks are. I sure have missed this girl!

Homestead Project Update

Things are busy on the Vashon homestead! With our living room all put together and the door/wall project done you would think we would be taking a break for the holidays. Ha! That is what Matt thought too.

Nope, we are in full project mode even though we tried our best to take it easy. We really wanted to get the cat porch done before Christmas guest arrived so we started on that two weekends ago. I trimmed up bushes out front while Matt tackled the wall from the inside. We were way too optimistic on how long it would take to cut this whole correctly. 3 saws and 2 days later we have a hole, very well cut, but the cat door is not yet installed. With daylight so limited right now it is impossible to get work done during the week. So it waits again till next weekend.

To top that project off I found a free chicken coop and 5 hens that needed a new home! So onto the project board that went. Last weekend we prepped the coop site, clearing branches and liming up a tree. We also investigated and measured the coop to see how we needed to plan for transportation across the island.

On Sunday, the coop finally arrived at our house! It was a full day that included lots of supply shopping at Island Lumber, picking up a borrowed truck, calling some teenagers we know to help lift the coop…and finally FINALLY getting it back home. The coop is big, roughly 8 feet by 4 feet, and nearly 5 feet tall. Awkward to move to say the least. But four of us managed to load it into Mike’s truck and drive it across the island.

It fit through our gate by mere millimeters and now rests on some concrete blocks while we build a frame to set it on. We plan to put in a mini run under the coop, and a larger run attaching to that. Once we get the coop set next weekend (we hope!) we can pick up our 5 hens!

A Snowy Weekend

Our evening ritual of writing the “top 5” best things about our day has been a challenge…there are just too many good things happening to squeeze it into 5!

Thursday and Friday brought memorable evenings out with good friends…one couple is practically a brand new friendship and that makes it even better! We are finding our groove for fitting in socialization both on and off the island.

Saturday we woke up and Matt was sick. Like stay-in-bed-all-day sick. I was excited to take advantage of the quiet house and crank through some school work. Well that did not happen.

I glanced out the back window and noticed a geyser of a broken water pipe. Awesome. Luckily it was out near the garden shed and not causing any damage…but I still needed to figure out how to turn it off. I called the water district and they sent someone out to turn off the meter (joy, no water) and he walked me through some options for fixing it. We boiled it down to two: a DIY cap or call a plumber. I decided to try my hand at plumbing and drove down to the hardware store, bought some supplies and headed home to work. Two hours later and after another trip to the hardware store the pipe was capped and curing.

I headed inside to get some work done, and take care of my sweet sick husband. I took a break in the afternoon to try on my Stitch Fix box (review here!) and Matt documented the outfits as my personal photographer.

After creamy tomato soup for dinner we watched some Olympics and then around 8:00 the snow started to fall. We don’t get a lot of snow here and so it is pretty exciting when it does come. It piled up to just over 3 inches and we went on a late night trek through the yard before bed.

Thankfully the snow was still there in the morning! It was silent and oh so peaceful outside as I walked around with the cats. They were not happy to be out but I dragged them with me anyway. Isn’t our house adorable in the snow?!

The peaceful morning was interrupted by me falling down the stairs while carrying a case of wine. Bruised tailbone, some tears, but amazingly no broken bottles of wine! It was pretty loud and scary though.

Matt made an amazing breakfast (if you eat it at 1:00 it still counts right?) of carrot cake pancakes and eggs with prosciutto. So good! Topped off with fresh lattes it is a great snow day breakfast.

Our little family is now curled up near the fire as the snow starts to melt outside. I am plugging away at homework while Matt continues to recover from his weekend sickness. It feels good to be safe, warm and cozy on our little snowy island.

Magical Ice

Last night we heard rumor that Fisher Pond (biggest water formation on the island) was frozen enough for skating, so this morning we bundled up and headed to the ice. The pond was beautiful…sparky sunshine, crystal clear ice filled with leaves and bubbles, and towering madrona trees all around the edge. We made our way to the center of the ice and skated around with a handful of other local families. It was magical. Perfectly silent aside from kids squealing and ice sliding under boots and skates.

We are in love with this magical place.

Cold Snap

This week the temperature dropped. We have had many chilly mornings out waiting for the bus, cold enough that coats/jackets piled on 4 thick were not keeping me warm. I figured this is the first of MANY winters with this bus commute, so I ordered an awesome new down winter coat. I got two colors and will keep the one I like better:

So excited for it to come!

Last night we had a winter night date, going out for burgers and then to the local production of the Nutcracker. We were really impressed with how good it was! Great dancers…kindergarten through high school and some nearby dance colleges. So much fun to be part of a community tradition.

Today we spent the morning cleaning the house top to bottom and keeping warm while the freezing cold kept us inside. It was in the teens when we woke up. The few minutes were were out in the yard our hands nearly froze! Brrr! We also met up with some friends in town for lunch and spiked hot chocolate. Tonight is the tree lighting ceremony and Santa’s arrival parade in downtown Vashon. We are tempted to go, but decided to stay home and watch a movie instead. We feel a little guilty, but it is SO cold and I am just not feeling like being out tonight. We will make up for it in years to come!

So instead, we are kicking back, doing some homework, and eating homemade turkey soup by the fire. Rumor has it that there is ice skating on Fisher Pond tomorrow morning…at least that is what we heard when we picked up a dozen eggs from the old man down the street. He is providing skates. Sounds like something we should not miss out on.

Current Obsession: Boots

I love my boots. I bought my first pair of “wear with jeans and skirts” boots last season and really did not wear them that much. This year is a different story. They are practically my everyday footwear for work or play. 

I have decided that wearing the same pair everyday gets a little monotonous though. Boots are a statement right? Although I love my current pair of brown boots, I am craving more variety and better quality. What does that bring me to? Really expensive leather boots online. Oh yea, I am a little obsessed. I have pinned endless pairs of boots far more expensive than I am willing to spend. I am also not sure how well I would pull off the western look although I am pretty much in love with the idea. Pointy toes? Not sure on that one yet.

 Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Frye 'Melissa Button' Boot

Womens Old Gringo Viridiana Boots Rust #L282-1

I am determined to find another pair of boots to add into my winter rotation. I am resisting the urge to buy some online (free shipping and returns is a dangerous way to shop!) and am going to find some consignment stores first. I will keep you posted on the boot progress.