Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Bathroom: Before and After




The bathroom is the only room in our house that didn't get a fresh coat of paint before we moved in. The previous owners had chosen terrible colors for the whole house and the bathroom was no exception. For the bathroom they tried to match the tile colors, with pink walls and a burgundy ceiling. The dark ceiling made it feel really small, and it's already a pretty small room. While my husband was installing a ceiling fan the dark paint began peeling away. Of course it didn't all come off and we knew it was beyond time to give this room a nice coat of paint. Why would you paint the vent? They painted the inside of the medicine cabinet burgundy too. I just don't understand.








In the store the paint looked like a light gray, but on the walls it looks more blue. At first we weren't sure about it, but changing the shower curtain made all the difference. Having a light colored shower curtain also makes the room lighter and bigger. For the first week after hanging the new curtain there were many requests for 'the yellow submarine song!' The new sink is a really great too. I love it! The previous sink was alright, but didn't have any storage under it, which this tiny bathroom desperately needed.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekend Bliss



Half chocolate ganache, half sweetened cream cheese under rhubarb paste leftover from making syrup. 






 





Puff pastry, bun baking, barbecuing, fence building (my husband - not me!), flower sniffing, garden improving... It was a great tease-of-summer weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ahhhh...








Look! The peas are sprouting!







I recently checked out Date Night In from the library. It's about a couple who, upon realizing they needed a weekly date night but couldn't afford to pay for a babysitter and dinner out, decided to have their date night in. Each chapter is a menu for a date night, usually a cocktail, dinner and dessert. I loved it right away. The photos are gorgeous, the recipes interesting but still approachable, and the writing is really personable. I really love cookbooks that have stories in them. I always want to learn more about the recipe and/or author and this book delivers both. Last week, after seeing rhubarb pop up in the grocery store, I decided to make the rhubarb syrup from the book. It was so easy and delicious, and the resulting Rhubarb Sour is so good. Really, really, really good. It's like spring in a glass that gets you a little tipsy. I've already bought another pound of rhubarb to make another batch of syrup. I've also already made the braised green beans twice. Dean can't stop eating them. Aside from the delicious recipes, I really like the sentiment of the book. We've started doing our own weekly date night in after the kids go to bed, although it is a truncated version of just drinks and dessert. I can't imagine waiting until after my kids are in bed to eat dinner. Last week we had champagne and banana cream pie.

This passage from the book really sums up how I feel about cooking. Her husband had requested a cake made from cake mix for his birthday: "The truth is that I felt I wasn't loving my husband well enough by just adding eggs and oil. I wanted to spend hours constructing a perfectly balanced cake with many components that each, in their own way, say, 'You are loved.' Because, whether he realizes it or not, it's through my food that I love him most honestly. I am terrible at kissing him in public, and I get a weird and red in the face when trying to use words to tell him how I feel. But creaming butter and sugar together until they're the color of marshmallows and folding in flour so that the cake has enough structure and tenderness? Now that's how I say, 'I love you.' "

Needless to say, I bought the book. It has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf.

A week and a half ago Vincent borrowed a friend's rototiller and two hours later we had a garden! We sowed snap and shelling peas that afternoon and now they're coming up. I'll be sure to be put building trellises on our weekend to do list. We originally thought this would be a temporary garden, with plans to level out and terrace the backyard. Now we've decided that keeping the garden section sloped is good for drainage, so suddenly my temporary garden has become permanent! It's actually good that it turned out this way. I'll have a spring and summer to see how the garden behaves with the sun, etc before putting in permanent plants, such as asparagus, artichokes, and rhubarb. More immediately I'm trying to figure out where to plant the herb garden. I impulse bought these herbs this morning. I'm such a sucker for good package design. The backyard continues to put on a beautiful show for us. I'm not sure what the pink flowers are (with the bee) but they sure are delicate and pretty. I wonder what new flower will appear next week or month!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Five


























Gianna turned five on saturday and it was quite an event. We spent the previous week preparing for it; piƱata creating, necklace making, kitten dress sewing, peg doll completing, cake baking, and house decorating. The night before the party Gianna and I baked the cake. We have a handful of gluten free friends, so I decided to just make one gluten free cake instead of two different cakes. Not being an experienced gluten free baker, I bought a box of cake mix and I am proud to say that Gianna looked really confused when I opened a box instead of pulling down my jars of flour and sugar.

It had been raining all week but the clouds decided to part and let the sun shine on us for the afternoon. It was an pajama party, per the birthday girl's request. It was really fun to have a house full of kids and parents wearing pajamas and having fun. Vincent made little pizzas for the kids and big pizzas for the adults. We had mimosas and I made a pitcher of this delicious Lillet Rose Spring Cocktail, although I couldn't find Lillet Rose, so I used Lillet Rouge instead.

This last photo is of Purple Kitten. She has been with us since Gianna's second birthday and has outlasted every other toy. This year Gianna requested that I make some new clothes and a sweater for her. I didn't get a sweater made, nor did I get Gianna's sweater finished, but I did get three little dresses stitched up!

It was a great day and I can't wait to see what the next year brings.