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I still exist, and I’m happy that you do too. We had an action-packed, relaxing, invigorating, magical summer. Hence the silence on my part.
Umm, apparently June 4th was the last time I visited here, but I swear it was only two weeks ago.
For real, June 4th?
Don’t worry, I’m not sorry at all. I soaked up every ray of sun, every giggle, every trampoline flip and fish caught. (Well, I ate the fish rather than absorbed them.) I just couldn’t remove myself from life enough to post about it, and I think that’s pretty awesome.
Now that fall is settling in and the mornings are chilly, I feel like we’ve slowed down a bit.
Want to look at my summer?
The boy turned 9!
I got my hair cut. (You’re so excited, I can tell)
I caught my first real fish! (I caught a fish once when I was 16, but it was teeny and we didn’t keep it.)
We drove boats. And played in boats. And fished from boats. And tried to ski behind boats.
Boats. Lots of boats. Can you tell that I’m obsessed with boats? I would totally live in a boat.
We went zip-lining.
All of the cousins were together for the first time ever.
I went to my first rodeo! Can you explain to me how I’ve been in Montana for my whole life and never once been to a rodeo?!?
And you guys! I drink beer now! This is a thing! I can’t even tell you how happy this makes my husband. You know him? He’s the homebrewer that I talk about all the time. Don’t worry, beer drinking was completely my decision. And in case you’re wondering whether or not I was replaced by a pod-person, I don’t think there’s any chance I’ll ever, ever, drink an IPA. Ick!
So as you can see, I was busy.
How was your summer?
You all know that I hate the cold.
I would take 97F over -25F EVERY. TIME.
And spending two hours shoveling my driveway, while a great workout, is not my idea of time well-spent.
But I have to say, getting a four-day weekend is pretty spectacular.
Guys. We got snow days!! Not one, but two!!
If you’re from Montana, this is basically unheard of. It could snow an entire foot over night and we’d still have to go to school.
Last week though, we got Friday off because it snowed a foot over night and then we had 50mph wind. I had to pretend I was hearing ocean sounds in order to sleep. It actually worked really well. There still weren’t enough streets cleared by Monday to safely open the schools, which meant that we got to stay home again.
So my mind naturally came up with this frozen treat. If you’re all bundled up and you don’t have to brave the cold, why not?
All you have to do is make some whipped cream
We make whipped cream by adding heavy whipping cream and maple syrup into a mixing bowl. Beat until fluffy and add maple syrup in small amounts until it tastes right.
Sprinkle on some chocolate chips. Drizzle on as much caramel as you can.
More caramel! Caramel recipe can be found here.
These sandwiches don’t get rock hard like you’d expect. Even after they’ve been in the freezer overnight! They were shockingly easy to break in half and bite through. The whipped cream retains its fluffy texture, and frozen caramel might be the best thing in the world. As my husband says, “These things will change your life.”
If I would have known I could celebrate the cold with treats, I would’ve had a completely different outlook on winter.
I know I haven’t posted anything in awhile. And while I’m kind of sorry about that, I also really enjoyed the downtime.
And to be quite honest with you, I was feeling a bit uninspired in the kitchen. I know, right? Kind of lame for a food blogger to stop having fun in the kitchen.
I don’t want to post fluff just so I can say I posted something. I write when I’m inspired. Or when I’ve had a success.
Or an epic failure.
And there were so many other things happening in my life–all for the good!–that what we were eating for dinner just kind of went on the back burner. (Kitchen pun! It’s ok, I know I’m hilarious.)
But let’s get back to that gorgeous photo at the top.
Dude, we got a new oven!
I’m in love.
Between the new oven and my dreamboat, I’m kind of in heaven. And! I’m ready to get back in the kitchen.
Watch out world!
There’s this thing that happens to me when the sun shines.
Suddenly, things that were so stressful and worrisome become not such a big deal.
Where I would have found myself saying no before, I now find myself enthusiastically saying yes.
I get excited about being outside again, and I don’t even have to be bribed!
Missoula loves to celebrate. Especially when it comes to beer.
So twice a year we have a Brew Fest to celebrate all the local and regional brews we have access to.
Unfortunately, I don’t like beer.
Even still, I’d never miss a Brew Fest.
you know you’re in for a good time.
Thanks Missoula! Can’t wait for the summer Brew Fest!
I have a recipe to share with you, I promise!!
But it needs just a little more tweaking. Which involves re-making it and taking new photos.
Trust me, this is a good thing. For me. Because I’ll get to eat it.
Eventually it will be a good thing for you, because you’ll get to eat it. Assuming, of course, that you make it. (You should!)
Anyway, until Saturday when I can re-cook and re-shoot, here’s a look at what I’ve been up to.
Canning! For the first time ever! It’s so fun, and I love love love eating homemade applesauce, apple butter and plum butter. I don’t know enough about canning yet to share with you, but I have lovely friends who are helping me learn.
Pinterest. If I need to tell you more, you are seriously missing out. I can pin like it’s my job, people.
I’ve also gotten us back on a weekly menu plan. I can’t believe how much time, energy, money and sanity this saves! It only takes us about 10 minutes to figure out what we want to eat that week, and then we just figure out what ingredients we need to buy and head to the store. And then I know that we won’t be eating the same things over and over, and we use up leftovers much more efficiently because it’s planned into the menu. Oh the little things that make me happy :)
What have you been up to?
I’m not a crafty person. I could reiterate, but it’s ok, you can take my word for it.
Lately I’ve had the urge to make stuff. Not food stuff, though I’ve been doing plenty of that, too.
It started with some alterations to a dress. Yeah, it’s still sitting next to my bed waiting to get finished.
Then I made a camera strap out of Nick’s old tie. It was fun, and it’s cute, though admittedly not the greatest sewing job I’ve ever done.
And then *I* went all out!
*I* made labels for my jars!!
**It was my idea, but I made Nick do it since he actually is skilled at making things look awesome.
(It’s exciting! I’ll show you)
I’ve had no problem identifying what is in each jar, but apparently I’m just extremely gifted. Fortunately we’ve had no sugar/flour switcharoo incidents. I’ve been meaning to label them, but I wanted cute/artistic labels, so I’ve been holding off until I could find some.
Admittedly, they’d be a lot easier to find if I actually looked. Ah well.
But this weekend, it totally hit me–chalkboard paint!!
Did you know they even make such a thing? I did, and I’ve always wanted to use it for something cool. A trip to Home Depot later, and we had chalkboard spray paint and some wide painter’s tape.
After that, it was just a matter of following the directions on the can of paint.
I’d recommend putting some cardboard or a paint cloth under the jars to catch the paint. We were excited and in a hurry though.
Some of the lids had been written on with sharpie markers, and no amount of scrubbing and washing could get it off, so we decided to paint those too.
Again, a drop cloth or cardboard would have been a good idea. Fortunately, watering the grass with the sprinkler got a lot of the paint out, and mowing the lawn will take the rest of it out.
And for less than $5 per can of paint, I think I can find a lot more projects *I* can do around the house. Wouldn’t these be awesome Christmas presents? If you’re a member of my family, pretend you didn’t see how easy this was!
What did you do over your long weekend?
I can’t admit how much it saddens me that summer is almost over.
Hold on, yes I can. And I’ve been telling everyone for the last week.
So rather than focusing on how dark it’s getting in the mornings/evenings, and how much I hate being cold, I’m trying to squeeze every last drop of summer onto my vitamin-D soaked skin.
We are totally in love with Britta! She was a stray, in line for euthanasia before an absolutely lovely woman introduced us. If you’re even thinking of adopting a dog, I’d highly recommend driving over to Corvalis and visiting the MT Companion Animal Network.
How are you feeling about the end of summer?
I’ve made cakes before. Delicious, moist, fluffy cakes. Sometimes with frosting, sometimes glaze, sometimes with just a dusting of powdered sugar.
But I’ve never made a layer cake. And we all know that presentation isn’t my strong suit.
They remember the sweet Batman cake. And the even sweeter birthday boy.
Thanks for working on Father’s day, Nick. You make Batman proud.