Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Woodland Wonder Themed Baby Shower

Living on the Olympic Peninsula is pretty spectacular all by itself. I'm a lucky girl to have a little piece of rain forest in my backyard. Which makes for some pretty amazing backdrops for fun adventures including quaint gatherings, full blown salmon bakes and my favorite, baby showers.

My lovely friend, Karli was expecting with her first girl. I wanted to give her a gift to show her how amazing I know her to be and how excited I was for her little family to grow. (Also, I won't deny that my having 5 boys had a little tinsy bit to do with it. Living vicariously yes?) So, my gift to her was a baby shower. She didn't get to see or really know much about it unit she arrived at the party.


(above is the front of the invitation to the shower) the graphic of this mushroom can be located at

This was one of my favorite parties to date. I wanted it to feel magical, ethereal, and enchanted.

Wild flowers, tissue flowers, moss, branches.....

and a ton of butterflies.

I wanted to have things that would be dainty and fairy like to nibble on.
A basket of acorn cookies of course!

Vanilla bean French macarons set atop a mossy bed.

Tiny bite sized raspberry cupcakes adorned with perfect berries sitting on top of their very own wooden pedestal. 

Meringue mushrooms nestled next to white chocolate bark, topped with pistachios, dried cranberries and apricots.

The backyard was lit with candles on log stumps all throughout.

I made sure the guests had a fun area to take photos complete with girly props. 

Look at these beautiful women! Karli! I don't know if pregnant people are supposed to do that!

 A big thank you to all that came and celebrated this occasion with this lovely lady. Let's pretend this party wasn't over a year ago. I hope this inspires some of you to entertain and celebrate with those that you love! 


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Decadent Chocolate Cherry Cookies

If you like to eat your feelings and you love chocolate, like really rich chocolate, then you are going to love these cookies. I make them every February because they kind of just scream Valentine's Day. 

This cookie is studded with cherries and chunks of chocolate in every single bite. It has a crisp edge and a brownie like inside. It's a sexy cookie. 
And guess what?
You can totally make them. All by your sweet little self. Promise. 

They look freaking good right?
So make a batch, hide them, and wait until you can eat them alone whilst watching Magic Mike. 
Have fun!


Thursday, July 31, 2014

My favorite places-Hi-Lo's 15th Street Cafe

Having lived in California just about most of my life, I had many things at my fingertips. I lived in Northern California and I could go two hours in one direction and be at the snow, two hours in the other direction and be at the beach. I could wander around the nag champa incense perfumed streets of Berkeley eating my favorite pizza from Blondie's, or go a little further to breathtakingly beautiful Napa Valley with it's perfect rows of grape vines, olive trees and lavender. I could go to museums and taste wonderful cuisines from around the world. I was incredibly spoiled.

And then I moved. Far away.

The thing about moving to a place you know nothing about, is that it can leave you extremely home sick. But I've found that the best remedy for that, is to go out and explore. Sometimes those adventures will leave you high and dry, and sometimes you'll find treasures. That's what I want to do, explore and find those little gems that are worth the risk.

Some time ago, I met some friends for breakfast here in Bremerton. The twins were still babies. The vibe was what I loved so much about San Francisco and Berkeley. The ambiance was something I was very familiar with and it made me feel at home. Like I just belonged there.

I decided it had earned its spot in "My Favorite Places" posts. So, I took my husband and the two little boys and we went for breakfast and I made sure to take pictures this time.

Hi-Lo's 15th Street Cafe
2720 15th St, Bremerton, WA 98312

Heidi and Lowell Yoxsimer, are the Hi and Lo of the Hi-Lo partnership. Heidi is in the front of the house, while Lowell is in the kitchen. Originally from California, the pair moved to West Seattle and then Bremerton with the dream of opening a restaurant and beautifying Bremerton. I'm pretty grateful that they took the risk.

 They are open from Monday through Sunday but only serve breakfast and lunch. Be prepared to wait if you go on the weekend. The cafe is also on the smaller side. So, if you have a huge crowd it will be tricky. They do have some outdoor seating. Hi-Lo's also believes in table sharing. So don't be surprised if you get sat right next to someone at the bigger tables. That has only happened to me once. And it's by no means a bad thing, but it isn't very common in most dining situations. It is busy and noisy enough that accidentally eavesdropping on your neighbor's conversation is pretty hard to do, unless it's way interesting, then by all means. Lean in a little closer.

Upon arriving, you may have to wait for a bit. But it's worth it. One of the servers, or Heidi, who is a fun loving red head with a kazoo tucked in her braids, will invite you to pick a mug from an assortment of a unique collection hanging from racks around the kitchen area if you are interested in coffee. I only got a picture of part of it.

You have the option of dressing up your coffee at this creative coffee station.

It's the coolest right? Being a huge VW fan it makes my little bus heart happy.
Once you are seated you obviously get a menu. Another fun amenity is that they have a place right by the kitchen that has little toy buses for kids to play with while they are waiting for their food. It's a cool feature for us non germaphobes. There are also books to browse and crazy headbands to wear if you so desire. 

Oh....and they have jam packets....if you are into that sort of thing. Like Boyd is.

The boys got a little bit restless at one point and Heidi came over to our table and performed the Batman and Spider-Man theme song on her kazoo. The twins were thoroughly entertained. She then concluded her little performance by playing "If You're Happy and You Know It" where the rest of the crowded cafe chimed in, singing and clapping!

This was the cherry Italian soda that I ordered. Our waiter asked if I would like sprinkles. Ummm hello? Is there any other option? I think not.

I had the chorizo with eggs and house red potatoes. It is served with a big tortilla so you can make your own burrito if you want. It was very delicious.

Mike had the breakfast burrito. He said it was tres wonderful.

If you want something a little more intimate, you can reserve a spot in the VW bus that is parked out front. It is heated and has a little table to make your dining experience nice and comfy.

We had such a great time. The food was great, the atmosphere was nostalgic, and it was impossible to leave without feeling well, happy.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Independent or Not Scared To....

I am sitting here at my 90 foot long farm table that my husband built me for our anniversary. I am literally looking all around and what the savages have done to my house. Fish crackers, chips, graded homework, half made paper airplanes, a frame that I want to paint, and sand paper are strewn about across the wood landing strip that I love so much. I know I should clean it instead of writing this. 

There are duplo blocks set as unknowing booby traps waiting for me. Laundry baskets decorate the front room like little sky scrapers towering around the city of beanie babies and matchbox cars below them. I know I should tidy it instead of writing this.

My middle sons' room is half painted. All of their furniture is squished into the middle of the room making it nearly impossible to safely make it anywhere in there. I just realized that the hardware store gave me semi-gloss instead of satin.....after I cut into the whole room. I really should be taking care of that instead of writing this....

But each day I put off writing, it turns into days, and weeks and months....sometimes a year. My house, my life, will never be to a point where I can sit down to this computer and write, knowing that everything is as it should be, and that everything is perfect. Hell, if that were the case, I would never have anything good to write about. 

Baby Loving Man has been gone to Japan for almost two and a half months now. I have been left to my own devices for all of that time. Things have changed. Let me explain.

For the most part, I would describe myself as a pretty independent person. I think that is what the outside world might see. But I am realizing that my independence lies in getting what I want (as horrible as that sounds), having an opinion and not being scared to share it if need be, as well as fighting ladies at Target who try to back into me and then act like I did something wrong. Those kinds of things. Maybe I'm confusing the word "independent" with "not scared to". Either way, I'm sure you get the point.

Now, having said that. I have many fears that not many people know about that keep me bound. They keep me from being who I really want to be. I don't go around announcing them, because that's not fun. But they are certainly there, and they hold me back. They older I get, the more I realize how true it is. 

With my husband gone for this long, I have been put into situations where I was able to face some of my fears and anxieties head on. I won't share all of them with you but here is one that has been a huge setback for me most of my adulthood. 

In my lifetime I have had an immense fear of driving. At first it was just in general. I actually bought a car and had Baby Loving Man drive me everywhere. If I knew I had to drive somewhere by myself I would be physically sick about it for days. As time went on I out grew the fear of driving in places I was familiar with, but the thought of driving anywhere I hadn't been before on my own or it was just farther away than I was used to sent me into private panic attacks. Part of it is the fear of getting lost and not finding my way back. Somewhere in my brain, I have convinced myself I have no control over this. That once I'm lost I'm lost and that I'll have to start a new life where ever that is. Oh, you ended up in Portland, OR? Not sure how to get back? I guess I'll have to buy a house here and move on with my life. It sounds so dumb and its perfectly real to me. This has limited me for so very long. I cannot tell you. It seems very minor, but when you think about not going new places because you are scared, I mean that just sounds lame. It is lame.

This is my face when someone says to me  "Hey, lets go to Seattle and you can drive!"

I had the opportunity to drive to California with my five kids last month. As you can imagine from the previous paragraph this was a freaking big deal to me. I decided that this was going to be my time to overcome this problem. On trips I NEVER drive. My husband always does, and happily because he is so sweet to me. When you don't have to drive, you also don't have to pay attention to where you are going. What's the point right? I won't admit how long I couldn't tell anyone how to get to my house that I grew up in, OR the street it was off of. It was really not something I had to worry about. So, you would think having grown up in California I would probably know how to get there. Not so fast! Because no. I don't. 

My Step Mom was kind enough to come up to help me drive, but I drove a lot of the way there and almost all the way back. I packed for all six of us, I packed the car, I got snacks for everyone ready and things for them to do, I set up the DVD players all by myself. I have accomplished some hard things in my life, things that are challenging to me. Oboe concertos, catering weddings for over 400 people almost alone. Those things give me a high afterwards, but they aren't life changing to me. I feel a sense of accomplishment for sure. But they haven't altered me the way this did. I have opened a whole new part of my life I have never been able to visit because I have been scared. Beyond scared. 

I never really knew how much I relied on my husband. Because again, I considered myself to be an independent person. I realize that there are people that do this all of the time. Especially military wives and such. It's a world that I don't want to know much more about. It's exhausting, the days and weeks seem long if you don't keep yourself busy, everyone depends on no one else but you. But right now, as much as I miss him, I wouldn't trade the experience of doing it a lone for the world. It's strangely empowering. 

Now, I guess I'll go clean my house, and work on my other "independent issues". Like fighting ladies at Target. There was safety in knowing that if I was pissed at you and you lived far away, you were safe....not anymore. I'm not scared now.  

Friday, February 28, 2014

Five Years Ago Today

Five Years Ago Today

Several years ago I wrote a post about a New Year's resolution I had for myself, To Forgive. I expressed my hopes that I might one day be able to break the binds that have held me captive in the heartbreak of my biological Father's death. That I might one day be able to forgive the girl that hit him on his motorcycle which ended up killing him.

Two years later, I wrote following up with my progress with a post called, Tender Mercies. I identified the sweet blessings that I was granted in the precious months that followed this tragedy.

But when this New Year came, I couldn't bring myself to write. I had nothing to say. I was in a stagnant state. If anything my heart had become even more of an icy vessel, slowly and silently hardening away. I tried to trick myself into thinking that if I could play out the scenario in my mind that if my son had been the driver, I would have a different outlook, that of a mother feeling empathy for their child. Maybe could feel mercy. But it was a logic game that I jested with myself and I lost every time, never really accepting it. It sounded noble. It was a great perception in theory. But I knew it wasn't really the truth. And my heart was way too frozen to care.

It has been exactly five years the day that I write this. I have been submerged in the thick steel bars of a cage deep in the murky cold ocean waters. Sharks of fear, heartache, hate, perception and sorrow darting past me, circling around so I can never break free. The only thing I can see is them. There is absolutely no other way out. They glisten and glitter in the light from up above. If I make a run for it, they will most definitely gobble me up. How do you get out of a metal death trap under water? Pray I guess.

Praying is an interesting thing. Sometimes I avoid it. I avoid it because I know when I really need something, when I REALLY want something I will get it. Oh, I will get it. But I won't just get it delivered to me in a cute little UPS package at my front door, sitting there all shiny and bright. Nope. I get a freaking dump truck chalk full of manure with a crazy drunk driver, reverse all the way up my lawn, over all of my landscaping, dumping the manure on my front porch and then in the middle of it is the package. I open this package and there's a little piece of paper folded up. I unroll it. It says "Told you so". That's what happens when I pray. It's not even an answer. It's like a kick in the balls and then a high five.

So, P.S. I prayed about this thing about the girl that hit my Dad. Yep.

Several weeks ago, someone incredibly close to me got into an accident very similar to this situation, and they were the driver of the car. Someone who I love very, very dearly. I watched as they were accused of horrible accusations, and villainized. The public immediately assumed this person had been grossly negligent and deserved a horrible punishment not even knowing the actual circumstances. It was disheartening to watch how quickly others were able to try and determine this person's intent and their character.

I witnessed the immense amount of pain my loved one was going through, knowing that someone had lost their life in this whole situation. It was powerful, and profound and it opened my eyes to the other side in a tragedy similar to mine.

Helping this loved one through this process had me asking a lot of questions and I had a lot of concerns in regards to the outcome of their responsibility and things of this nature. Consequently many of my own personal questions in regards to my father's accident that never were really answered made a lot more sense. Questions that had held my frozen heart captive. Had I been any different than those so quick to accuse my loved one? Did this girl grieve just as much for having a hand in someone losing a life?  My perceptions of what this girl's intentions were had changed. What if she had taken a call from a family member in an emergency and had to get home as soon as possible, and in a frantic state, made a wrong decision not thinking. Something that the villain I had built up in my mind could never of been capable of. What if this girl didn't plan on waking up that morning to kill someone I loved, just as this person close to me obviously hadn't planned on doing. Everything I ever thought I knew about this girl started to change.

One by one the sharks encircling my underwater cage started to disappear. As each one has departed the steel bars of my prison were being gently pulled up and up and up, and I could start to see the light rippling through the salty water. The joy of knowing I would reach the top meant I would see daylight. I would see freedom.

The person in my life who this has happened to has know idea how this has changed my life. I can feel something present in the hole in my chest where my heart once was. Something that has been hollow for a very long time.  As tragic as this situation is, they will never know the gift they have given me. It has changed me forever. To be kinder, to give second changes, to give the benefit of the doubt and to remember that not everyone is a villain. I know...."Told you so".


Monday, December 2, 2013

My Favorite Places: The Family Tree-Christmas Tree Farm

Every year I explore some ways I can nourish and grow my little blog. I try and make goals for myself that will get me to not only write, but also give me the drive to learn new things and maybe even get you excited and inspired to do the same. Sometimes those ideas get done and never make it in the form of a blog post because my life is down right psycho. Which is lame because I miss out on posting some interesting things and connecting with you. I don't want this to happen anymore!

For 2014, I am going to try, try, try, to do (at least) a monthly segment called My Favorite Places. There are so many amazing hidden gems that I want to share with you! For some of you, maybe they aren't so hidden, but they deserve some well deserved praise and attention. In my opinion, it is so important to support local businesses. I have gotten to know some pretty amazing people just from frequenting these places and have made some new friends that I would have never ever met otherwise.

So I'm going to start the year off a little early with this December.

One of my new favorite places: The Family Tree

The Family Tree is a beautiful Christmas tree farm located in Poulsbo,WA near the Hood Canal Bridge. The farm was established in 2003 by Paul and Gina Michaud and they opened their beautiful property to the public for business on November 29, 2013. I can't imagine what an exciting and fulfilling moment that must have been. The land was generously passed down to the Michaud's through Gina's family, helping them bring their dreams to life. They decided to name their Farm, The Family Tree, because of the land being passed down to them. Pretty neat!

Aren't they so lovely? They are even sweeter in person! 
picture courtesy of The Family Tree

So, here's the deal. I have a rather ginormous, ridiculously large fake tree (gasp!) I know!, sorry Michauds. I'm sure a little piece of them just died right now. But for reals, its huge and I love it. I love it so much that I have kept it for many years in storage because it wouldn't fit in a normal size house. One very important criteria for purchasing our recent new home was....will my tree fit in it? This is not a joke. If it didn't have a ceiling tall enough, I wouldn't even look at it. I have daydreams about me merrily spending quality time with my freakishly tall tree, we bond as I decorate it's amazon loveliness with ornaments the size of disco balls. Because like I said, I've been waiting many years for this moment. It's go oh so big or go home. I have the house, I have the tree, I have the disco balls. Merry Christmas to all.

However, Mike, my husband has a friend from work with a Christmas tree farm. How charming! Doesn't he know about my redwood size fake tree? So I say "Wow, how cool". And I drop it likes it's hot people, because I have a vision for that tree and me. Got it? And no one with a Christmas tree farm is going to get in the way of that. Not even you Paul.

I have never, in all my life, chopped down my own Christmas tree. I don't know what that's like. On the movies it looks picture perfect. It seems pretty cool, but my knows my thoughts and it's angry. I can't betray it. I do love having a yearly tradition though. This would kind of be amazing if it worked out. But I have spent years dragging that tree around! The math doesn't work out if I ditch my tree now. I have a lot invested in this plan.

After a lot of hinting on Mike's part...that "Did I mention my friend Paul has a Christmas tree farm?" Yes, I know! I decided to let my big ol' texas go big or go home tree dream die, and try out this new experience. I didn't go kicking and screaming, I went happily. I did feel like I was cheating on my tree though.....but......

I am so glad that I did.

The drive through Poulsbo is always beautiful. As we arrived, the setting was nothing short of picturesque. It was perfect. The kids jumped out and were greeted by toy jeeps and and seated diggers, little lawn mowers (which the twins loved) and a tree swing. Perfect for boys! There was a big fire gleaming in the fire pit which made everything smell Christmasy. People were milling about, some were sitting at the picnic table. The boys dashed straight for the toys. 

~I apologize in advance for my photos, it was dusk and all I had was my iphone, I'm making the best of it!~

There is a cute little place to pay and have hot chocolate, coffee and a cookie. The Michauds also make beautiful handmade wreaths, swags and garlands that are for sale as well. 

There were so many things to take pictures of and it was getting dark so fast. We walked over and saw their chickens. I think they need to start selling chicken eggs too! I would have totally bought some.

Now, on to the trees. You can choose from Noble or Grand Fir trees. You can cut your own, but they do have pre-cut trees for a little extra. I will put a link at the end of the post to their Facebook page in case their prices change but it was so affordable! 

Paul told us which areas we were able to roam and we literally were able to pick out any tree we wanted for that set price. It was so hard to choose because they were all beautiful trees. We finally settled on one. 

and so what do you do at a tree farm?

After you are all done cutting the tree, you bring it over to Paul and he clips the tag and hands it to you. You take this up to to the register. Next they put the tree this machine that shakes it. Then he puts in through another contraption that bags your tree and gets it ready for you to tie on top of your car and take home. The boys loved watching this whole process. 

That's Paul in the black overalls

I snapped this photo because I just thought it was so amazing. Standing in all those trees you look up and see this......

The Michaud's home. It was perfectly lit and peaking out between the trees with smoke billowing out of the chimney. I was tres dreamy I tell you.

While Mike and Michael Jr. tied our beautiful tree to the car, the boys played with all of the toys and happily drank hot chocolate sitting by the warm fire. I started to think about my precious fake tree, the disco balls and all of the lovely time I wouldn't be spending with it. That tree could never give me what I had gotten on this little excursion. New friends, a new tradition for my family and memories that we will always have together. 

Our lovely tree!

Thank you Michaud Family for taking risks, for believing in a dream and sharing it with the rest of us.
May you have a very, Merry Christmas!

With much love,

Please check out The Family Tree

Monday, October 21, 2013

Vintage Nautical Birthday Cake Smash-The Twins Turn One

It seems so very hard to believe that we have somehow survived a year with twins boys. The time really has blurred by as some had warned us. What handsome little men they are. I can't image our lives without them. Who would bang on the walls from their cribs to alert me that "hello!" they are awake? I would miss their clapping little hands and goofy teethy grins when they are handed a treat. I heart them....double heart them.

So, for their first birthday party I decided to do a vintage nautical theme. I am just soooo in love with all things well,...vintage nautical.  I have been since these guys were born and at some point that is what their room with be (maybe when they are 17 it will be finished, that's how it's going so far). I had so much fun with this party and I think our guests did as well. It was casual and homey. Good food and good company always make the best parties! Words that hold true.

I was able to get my hands on some first of the season copper river salmon! I was so excited. I roasted that with some dill, parsley and lemon. Copper river salmon is such a beautiful tasting fish.

We also had clam chowder and grilled chicken. A couple of side salads. Octopus hotdogs, fish crackers and peanut butter and jelly squares for the kids. Everything was gobbled up.
This is the dessert part of the meal. Cupcakes, Brorkes as we call them (cookie, oreo, brownie bars), peanut butter and jelly bars and rice crispy sushi treats! 
(rice crispy sushi treats)

I also love doing Italian Soda bars. The last time I did one was for my husband's graduation party and it was such a huge hit. People loved making their own drinks and coming up with their own flavors, so we did one for the party.
The highlight of the day was those two cuties digging into their cakes! It was the funniest thing I have ever seen. 

This is sweet little Boyd

And this is Mr. Harley


What different little personalities they have!
A big thank you to all of the guests that came a shared in this milestone with us. It was such a good time.

Here's to another year with these little sweet men!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...