Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  It’s been a busy day getting ready for family and friends who are coming into town to celebrate Jack’s 3rd birthday, but I wanted to quickly share these amazing blocks our friend Serene sent to us from Sacramento!  We are all loving them so much – instant fun for all!

Whenever I see photos of our home away from home, like this post, I miss it so much!

These rings have shot to the top of my wishlist.  I want Dan and Jack rings, and to stack them on the same finger!

Loving this interview.

Always on the hunt for easy braid updos!

I have many embroidery hoops, thinking of doing something like this.

Happy weekend!  Ours promises to be lots and lots of fun!


Gold Medals for Everyone!

I’m getting all the stuff ready for Jack’s Olympic 3rd birthday party: busily Modge-Podging medals, designing the winners’ podium, planning a few games, and downloading the National Anthem.  Lucky little guy’s birthday lands right in the middle of the Olympics, so it’s perfect really.  Since it’s for a kid’s party, I thought it would be fun for them to kind of look like a kid made his or her own medal.  So excited for everyone to wear a medal!

I printed them off, and used Modge Podge to affix them to cardboard, then I hot glued some ribbon to the back.  I wanted to share a printable PDF with you, in case you know people that have Olympic fever like I do and would appreciate a medal of their own.  Nine medals come on the sheet, so print off a few if you want to beat Michael Phelps’ medal count.

Just click the photo below to download the PDF!  Enjoy! 


Completely Pinteresting: Gold Leaf Plaque

I’ve had my eye on gold leaf all week!  I’m thinking it’s because I’m definitely in the zone rooting for the gold all day, every day.  I’m such a nut that I’ve convinced my almost-three-year-old that his upcoming birthday party should have an “Olympics” theme, rather than the previously planned “Super Hero” theme.  (I promised him lots of medals and he could sing a song on a pedestal as he waves to everyone.)

So yes, my eyes have been on gold as I have been scrolling through Pinterest.  This card is gorgeous, and I’m definitely going to be embellishing some glass just like the ones here.  I bought a plaque of wood in May that I’d intended to paint my Whisk Bakeshop sign on for the farmers’ market booth.  It was just too small for my sign, and it’s been sitting on my desk with a coat of chalkboard paint, waiting to be finished.  I actually saw this plaque a few days ago, which was weird and a bit shocking, because it was exactly what I’d been planning on making.  I had only waited to do it because I just couldn’t decide on the words…that is, until gold fever set in this week!

I’m so happy with the outcome, it being my first experiment with using gold leaf and all!  I’ll be adding hardware so it can hang on the wall.  Would you like it on your wall?

And here’s my pic from Instagram:


Tartine Baking Project: #67 Cherry and Apricot Dumpling

Dumplings, crisps, crumbles and cobblers are cousins in the world of desserts.  I adore them.   Eying any sort of menu or cookbook, and I see those words anywhere, the words, “Yes, I’ll have dessert,” come out of my mouth anticipating the question when any server opens his or her mouth to ask.  They’re just so easy to whip up, and the rewards are many.

As I read the recipe, and saw that I had to pit two and a half pounds of cherries, I debated buying a cherry pitter.  I’ve mentioned this when I made the clafoutis, but I’m hesitant adding more to the kitchen.  Especially something that just has one sole purpose.  So, I decided to mention my pitting endeavor on the good ol’ Internet, and the suggestions started flowing!  Perhaps missing running experiments as a high school science teacher, I decided to try a few methods that were suggested.  What worked best with the things I found readily available: setting the cherry on a wine bottle, and piercing it with a pencil with the eraser cut out of it.

I’ve only made savory dumplings before, but I knew I was going to love this sweet, fruity goodness.  Whereas crisps and crumbles are called such things for good reason – the texture of the topping, dumplings much fluffier.  When you cover the fruit with the batter, most of it stays on top, but just a bit sinks down in the crevasses between the cherries and apricots.  Oh!  What a lovely pair those apricots and cherries make.  Diving into the dish, still warm from the oven as the juices are still bubbling around the edges, is one of my favorite things in the world.  And then adding a heaping scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to mix?  Yes.  Delicious, and perfectly perfect.  Dumpling is a term of endearment in my world.


Not just any day at the beach

We’ve made it a point to head out to the beach more frequently this summer.  With no naps to work around, it’s made planning sunny, sandy adventures much easier.  I’ve declared my love for Lake Michigan a great many times, but honestly it’s the best beach I’ve ever been to.  It feels like a freshwater ocean, and the waves really start showing up this time of year, which just strengthens the gravitational pull of my feet to the water.  Jack stayed a couple of feet within the shoreline and screamed with joy as he was getting pummeled with waves.  He screamed, “I’s surfing!” and I wasn’t going to be the one to tell him he wasn’t.  Heading farther out into the water, the temperature was perfect and didn’t even take my breath away.  We played in the waves that came crashing over our heads – diving into them, letting them carry us on their backs, and letting the rip tide tug us further out to greet more waves.  We started screaming hilarious confessionals as we threw ourselves into waves – “I can’t read!”, “Nicholas Cage is really Jack’s father!”  My favorites were actually from dear, sweet 7-year-old Adeline: “I’ve tasted red wine!” and “I don’t really like tuna fish sandwiches!”  I wish I remembered more, but I was too busy laughing so hard I was crying.  I’d wipe away tears only to be smashed in the face with another wave.  We swung through one of our favorite ice cream places (salted caramel for Jack and I, Traverse City Cherry for Dan), and came home thoroughly exhausted.

The second half of our weekend was mostly devoted to the Olympics.  Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been swept up in the magic of every single sport I see at the games.  I am so engrossed, and any race or close finish has my nerves on edge and my heart beating out of my chest.  Handball?  I’m sold!  Swimming?  My favorite!  Cycling?  I want to do it!  I adore hearing the stories of the athletes, which always make rooting for them that much more fun.  Jack has been instantly won over with his first Olympics!  He’s told us he’s going to play soccer and “do the swimming there.”  He woke up asking for the “O-yimpics” and asking for gold.  We watched synchronized swimming before bedtime and he sweetly reenacted every dive from start to finish, and was chanting U-S-A as he fell asleep.

Here’s to a good week just as wonderful as the weekend.


It’s Friday again

I spent the last three days thinking it was Friday.  That makes for quite the confusing week, let me tell you.  I just felt tired all week.  I was planning on having a booth filled with delicious baked goods at the market this Saturday, but lacking the motivation early in the week meant I had to make a decision early on.  I opted for no market, just some time to gather my bearings for many projects and collaborations on the horizon, and getting my act together planning little dude’s 3rd birthday party.  Oh my.  He’s going to be three soon!  That’s wild!

I was completely excited to get a little package from my pal Yas who runs the beautiful Quill & Fox with her husband.  I am jumping for joy with the recipe cards in hand, and for some fun collaborations we have coming up!

My friend Sarah’s blog The Rusty Raccoon is a beautiful account of her journey as a single mama.  She’s a beautiful writer, and her little Shoshana is one precious little lady.

This post from Katie’s Pencil Box about her son playing baseball is adorable!  Her blog is always beautiful.

Looking for dinner ideas this weekend?  What Katie Ate is a go-to for inspiration for me.  I can’t wait for the fall to make that veggie lentil soup!!!  (I’m on a bit of a Katie kick here today.)

After reading this and this I’m ready for a trip to Iceland.

I’d like this necklace.

Thanks, Nikole – I adore this song!  It’s the perfect soundtrack for summer nights.

Happy weekend, all!  I look forward to a relaxing weekend with no real plans.  That’s always nice to have in these busy summer months.




Completely Pinteresting: Pins Loved Lately

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I don’t have a project this week, but that’s perfectly alright because I felt inclined to share some of my favorite pins lately over on Pinterest.  The majority of the things I’ve been pinning as of late revolve around food I want to make, looks I adore that inspire my wardrobe, photographs that are beautiful, and any hand lettering goodness I find inspiring to my own craft, and stuff that my talented friends (and Internet friends, too!) are up to.

I began this Completely Pinteresting feature on my blog because I do find that beloved website so very interesting, and I wanted to share how I was using Pinterest to inspire me – maybe inspire others too!  I’ve read a few things lately that seem to bash the idea of Pinterest, and I feel like I’ve got to defend it as if Pinterest is my best friend’s kid sister.  Back off, Pinny, haters!  (I just made that up on the spot now, I don’t call Pinterest Pinny!  Although, that is pretty cute!)

I’ve heard people scoff at the “lack of creativity” of people using Pinterest, that they have to curate and reblog beacuse they can’t think of things of create things to make on their own.  Yeesh!  That’s crazy!  I, for one, use it as a guide.  Yeah, I’ve created things that are pretty similar to whatever initially inspired the project I’m making, but more often than not I’m putting my own twist on things.

The thing about Pinterest is you can totally get swept away in going pin crazy, but it’s the next step, the action, that’s the key.  I feel motivated to do, to make, to create, after I spend time looking through friends’ boards.  I don’t know if there’s proof to back this up, you know, proper studies of the pinning habits of the masses…but I think the most actively creative people are the ones embracing Pinterest the most.   It’s fun to use it as a visual cookbook (to actually cook/bake the food I pin!), and to see the kind of inspiration others are having.  It’s also incredibly interesting to see what seems to be trending, too.  I’ve found countless blogs I know read regularly, and products that I’ve actually bought, after seeing them on Pinterest.

But, you know what?  If people are simply just pinning things and never doing a thing beyond that, whatever!  Why are people all up in their business anyhow?  I know there are so many pins of recipes and DIY projects that I’ve yet to tackle, and I certainly don’t see a problem there.  Right?  Right.  Okay, I’m done.  I’ve used the word ‘Pinterest’ in this post a bazillion times.


Scotts Milling Company

Last week I got a message from a friend letting us know about a tractor show in a nearby town that I’ve never been to.  We all packed up the kiddos and made the tiny trek over to Scotts, MI to check out the tractors.  Oh!  The whole town was having a garage sale!  EVERY SINGLE HOUSE had stuff out by the road, filling up the ends of every driveway.  First of all, I had no cash on me!!!  It was torturous – I felt like a rehabilitated pirate who’s sworn to never go near treasure again.  (Peter Pan is on in the background, I think that’s where the pirate comparison is coming from!)  But really, it was hard not to just stop and look!  We got to the tractor show, and all our little guys were incredibly excited, even though there weren’t many tractors because it was Friday and we were told Saturday is when the majority of the tractors show up.  Tractors must work too, I suppose.

Stumbling on the old building of the Scotts Milling Company made up for the lack of tractors and skipping out on garage sales.  Well, almost.  But really, it was fun to explore and explain to the boys what the building was all about.  We went inside, and it was rather barren, save for the few photos on the wall serving as history of the building and those that ran the company.  I go through a great amount of flour around here, and I’m encouraged to seek out a local mill to get flour from the source, if at all possible.  I’ll keep you posted on that front.


Good Reads: Books About Food

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t pursue a culinary career.  Sometimes I find myself daydreaming about heading to France to either attend pastry school, or serving as a baker’s apprentice in some hidden town you can only find by getting lost.  And then I realize that as of now I’m okay right where I am just baking at the Farmers’ Market every now and again, and also reading about food.  I am such a sucker for food magazines and blogs, and spend a lot of spare time catching up on all of them.  Then I remember I adore getting comfortable and lost in a good book about food, as well.

I’m currently reading Blood, Bones & Butter.  Have you read it?  I really just started and am instantly so swept away reading about her mother’s kitchen and her childhood.  I’m surprised I could put it down to open up the ol’ computer.

Julia Child has always had a special place in my heart.  I had mono in fifth grade and was out of school for ten or twelve days.  Normally my mom would stay home with me when I wasn’t feeling well, but such a long chunk of time had to be broken up between my parents taking time off work.  Although my mom was the best nurse ever (I still want her to be at my side when I’m sick now!), having my dad stay at home with me felt like such a special treat.  He was the one who’s done the majority of the cooking, and he’d have me watch the Frugal Gourmet or Julia Child, feeding my Saltines and Ginger Ale.  I adored her – she sounded like a muppet, and had so much fun cooking.  Reading her story, My Life in France, as an adult made me adore her that much more.

Anthony Bourdain is someone I’d like to have a drink and some street food with.  I had to be in the ER once for something like 10 hours, and Dan and I watched a marathon of “No Reservations” on a tiny hospital TV outstretched over the bed with an accordion folding  arm.  I was officially obsessed.  A couple friends have enthusiastically recommended Kitchen Confidential and I’ve gone so far as buying it.  I haven’t read it, but it’s on deck, and I know I’m going to like it.  I may even love it.  Who knows!

I think I got Dan the book Salt: A World History for a birthday, or Christmas.  Maybe I didn’t get it for him.  I suppose how he got it doesn’t matter.  He read it a few years ago, and enjoyed it.  I’ve wanted to have a go at it, but have put it off because there are a bajillion books in the world and I want to read a great many of them, and “Salt” just falls through the cracks.  Ha!  I wrote that out before I realized it was a silly l’il pun.  I’m looking forward to it, and I’ll report back once I’ve officially read it.

Have you read any of these?  Any good foodie book recs I should add to my list?


Tartine Baking Project: #66 Summer Fruit Bavarian

This past weekend, by incredibly amazing husband celebrated his birthday.  I’ve been planning to surprise him for a few weeks now, and am pleased to report it worked.  He was surprised!  I didn’t want to be the one to ruin it, I was concerned to say or do anything that would give any plans away.  I avoided hints, I avoided insisting I had nothing planned – the result: he just thought I was pretty lame.

(Oh, and I’m pretty bad at taking photos in the midst of a party.  I’m not sure what it is that subconsciously rattles me, but that paired with the fact that is was nighttime means there are not so great photos this go round!)

The one request I got from the birthday boy was strawberries.  He adores the strawberry Betty Crocker cake, so I thought this would be the closest equivalent that I could make.  The génoise, which is the type of cake, I went with is simple and straight forward.  I went this route because I made the cake the day of the party, and told him it was for the next day, which was his actual birthday.  That cakes makes me worry – I feel like the cake batter really deflates when I fold in the flour every time I make it.  I had to do some research on the cake to make sure what I was getting was a proper génoise.  I feel confident it is now, so that’s great.

Dan’s party was really an ‘Inception’ theme.  Not really, but just as the movie has a dream within a dream within a dream, his party had a couple layers, a surprise within a surprise. He thought the big surprise was when a group of his guy friends came over and took him out to get some drinks!  Nope, I just needed him out of the house!  Once he was gone, it was a whirlwind of decorating, getting myself ready, cleaning, running to the store, and getting Jack to bed.  I had a couple lovely friends, and my sister, who came and helped me out with all of that.  We pulled it off, and I can’t think of anyone who deserves the effort of a surprise party more.

For rushing my way through a cake in order to make sure it had at least the minimum time it required to chill in the fridge, I’d say it was a success.  The clean plates lining the room spoke for themselves.  Well, either people liked them or just felt like they had to eat the whole thing because I was standing right there.  I’m happy with both conclusions.