Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Best Present Ever!

Soooo, one of the best presents I've ever received was my Dremel Trio!! Chad got it for me this christmas, and I LOVE IT!

I have all these ideas floating around in my head for how I want to use it. The fun projects in our future!! Mine and the dremel's that is!

This was my first project:

Anyways, we'll see where this goes.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

2 Feasts A-Prepping & A Christmas Morning Full of Gifts and Lovvveee!

Merry Christmas!!

And what a christmas its been! We have been stretching this holiday out for as long as possible - starting early last week all the way up until tonight!

We celebrated christmas eve with a few good friends - we cleaned up the house (again), invited some people over, made an awesome feast, played a game and had some cheese cake (overnighted from New York!) for dessert!

Roasted Chicken, Mac & Cheese, Roasted Acorn Squash!!
As for today - its all about calling our family, good food, and of course - presents! Thank you everyone who made this christmas away from our families sooo wonderful! I couldn't believe how much had been delivered! Everything so so perfect, cozy or just downright delicious!!

 Even the pets got spoiled!!

I hope everyone has a great day, a great day full of love and family! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

3 Games a Watching

Well, its Christmas Eve-Eve.

The calm before the storm.

Chad was able to come home early today, and now gets through Monday evening off! So here we are, just the two of us, watching a football game, while enjoying a mug of hot apple cider.

Life is good.

4 Guests Arriving!

Last night we hosted a Festivus/Day After Solstice/Holiday Party!

There was soo much delicious food, drinks, a white elephant exchange, talking, and good people! Pretty much the perfect holiday party.

One of the best parts though, was we have a VERY talented friend in our group. He likes to do Mehndi (usually known as henna) - and is really good at it. So our house became a Mehndi parlor, and he adorned most of us with an amazing design. Most were traditionally inspired - but he did do a requested Flying Spaghetti Monster and an edit to an existing tattoo.

It was another great stop on the road to christmas this year!

Happy Festivus!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

5 Cookies Baking!

We made gingerbread cookies!!

Bought molasses and everything!

It was all Chad's idea!

Thanks Fannie Farmer!

Now if only we had an army of people to eat them with us!! Oh wait....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Six Yatchs A-Floating

Its almost Christmas! Just 6 short days away! And to help count down - I will be titling my entries appropriately!

Last week - Chad and I stumbled across something wonderful! As I was getting into my car, on the way home from a volunteer meeting, I saw in the trunk of the car in front of me, a sign. A literal sign. It was an advertisement for Silverdale's Artwalk. Silverdale has galleries?? Huh. I had to look it up, and yup - Silverdale has art. Not exactly in galleries per se, but art. Enough to warrant a quarterly Artwalk - and this one was special - along with the artsy stores being open late, there was also going to be a boat parade!

Well the evening came and It. Was. Pouring. POURING! Non-stop. We decided to go anyway - heck we're not witches. And it ended up being so fun! At first we thought it had been canceled - there were no lights on, no people... but then we saw an open sign, went in and the nice lady showed us a map.

I have a new favorite, quirky store: McGregor's & Company. The people who own it are so nice, and talkative. The items in the store are homemade or local or just country cute.

After the walk, we went over to the waterfront park gazebo, to watch the boat parade. To our surprise other people were there! Including, my friend Mary! And a whole bunch of food and apple cider! It was great - still POURING but so great.

At about 8:30 the boats started going by, They were all decked out in pretty lights, floating happily along the park. There were about 10 of them, and the parade lasted about 20 minutes.

And that was it. It was so cold and wet that AS SOON as the last boat went by people scattered! Literally running to their cars! Chad and I included. Not a bad way to start off the holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Good Morning Sunshine!

Silverdale has defied the weather channel - it is supposed to be rainy and snowy today - and most likely, late on, it will - but this is what we woke up to.

Lucky for us, its easy to wake up at the "crack of dawn." 7:45am is sleeping in, in fact.

Enjoy the day!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jingle bells! Jingle Bells!

Its that time of year again! Just 12 more days till feasts and presents!!!

I cannot believe how fast this year has gone by!

Anyways - with the holiday season comes my absolute favorite part - THE TREE! We got to pull out all the ornaments and decorate!

This year was MUCH better than last year - Chad actually let me look at more than the FIRST tree! The store we went to actually had stands! And I did a remarkably good job wrapping up our tree lights, making them a cinch to put up!

The funny thing is - this is the biggest house we've lived in (by ourselves) so once all of our decorations were set about the house.... it looked rather un-festive.... So we had to embellish a little more, some pine cones, a bit of garland, just a little bit more :)

They are staring at Lucius, our lizard.

So from our family, to yours, we hope you all have an amazing holiday!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Heathens Adopted A Trail!

I am a card carrying member of many groups, mostly non-profit environmental groups, but also a wildlife rescue and a social agnostics and atheist group. I love my life!

After being here for just a few months, I decided I needed to combine a few of my interests and do something good for the Silverdale community - so I pitched to the Kitsap Atheists and Agnostics that we adopt section of the Clear Creek Trail. Everyone readily accepted, thinking it would give us all a good way to use our time and give back a bit, but also could, possibly, change peoples minds about us (you know, us religionless, selfish swine). It ends up being the perfect community activity for our group, our members mostly being the out-doorsy type and many are in the botany/landscaping profession.

 The group! +/- a few... Think, herding cats...
The Trail! Looking East
Looking West

So that was that - the birth of our Adopt-A-Trail! We are going to maintain a 1/4 mile section of Clear Creek Trail, spanning from Silverdale Way to the end of Schold Rd, just north of Waaga Way! Our objective is to remove invasive species (scotch broom, blackberry, ivy, etc.), plant trees and native bushes, pick up any waste, and monitor the CREEK BEAVERS we have residing along our trail!

 Newly planted additions!

We had our first and only meeting with a "senior" member of the Clear Creek Squad - she showed us around, where we should concentrate our efforts and what is considered the right and wrong things to do. During our explorations of the surrounding off-trail areas, one of my friends/member found a huge wasp nest - then the debate about removal ensued.

I'll post updates! We have some big plans for the future!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Two, amazing recipes you can make anytime - very fancy looking, but super simple.

Baked Brie


   * 3/4 onion, thinly sliced
   * 2 tbls grease, butter or olive oil
   * 1 sheet puff pastry
   * 1 5-inch round brie
   * 1 egg


  1) Take puff pastry out of the freezer and put ontocounter to thaw.

  2) Melt grease in a large pan over medium heat. Add sliced onions. Stir frequently, don't let brown, just caramelize them. Will take about 30 minutes. When done, set off to the side to cool.

  3) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  4) Open up, and roll out pastry to about a 12 inch square. Pile cooled onions onto the center of the
square, in a small 3-5 inch diameter pile. Take the whole brie wheel, unwrapped, but with the weird rind and papery stuff on it, and squish it into the onions.

  5) Beat the egg in a small bowl. With a brush, brush the pastry with egg, and fold up the edges, using the egg as glue. Fold up all around and seal the edges by squishing. When finished, flip the whole thing over, seam side down, onto a silicon sheet on a baking sheet. Brush the entire top with egg.

  6) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Take out and let cool for about 10 minutes, before eating.

Roast Duck


   * 5-6 lb duck
   * 1/2 onion, cut into 2 pieces
   * salt & pepper
   * kitchen string


   1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

   2) Unwrap duck and remove giblets (reserve neck for boiling for stock/gravy). Rinse duck under cool water. Shake off. Cut away excess fat around the front cavity (anything solid flap and fatty) leave the weird butt flap tucked under the duck. Score the top of the breasts, about every 1 1/2, in a diagonal. DO NOT CUT INTO THE MEAT, JUST SCORE THE FAT! Season inside and out with salt and pepper and stuff the onion into the cavity.

    3) Truss up the front knob and legs together to close the cavity and fold the back leg tips out, back then under its butt. Put the pretty duck onto a roasting rack, in a roasting pan. Put into the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Then lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.

   4) Occasionally checking it, and tilting it to dump some of the collected liquids (unless you are trying to render the fat, do not dump the cavity! You will get icky juices into your fat) cook for about hour and a half to two hours. Do not baste. Internal temp should be between 165 and 180 when done.

There you go! An easy dinner that would impress ANYONE!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

An Ambitious Thanksgiving

Chad and I cooked our first Thanksgiving dinner this year!

We had decided early on that we weren't going to have the "traditional" menu (I attribute this to the billion hours of food network we watch each week). We wanted to nod tribute to our roots and add some of our favorite flavors, all while steering clear of those items neither of us were ever a fan of...

Did you know, I don't like turkey? Nope, and come to find out, neither does Chad. So Chad decided we were going to make duck this year.

Did you know, there are actually very odd little yearly trends for Thanksgiving side dishes? This year it was brussels sprouts We decided to follow this trend.

Lastly, did you know, basting a chicken in duck fat, makes the chicken both moist and irresistible???

Our menu was ambitious - especially since we made EVERYTHING (but the bread) from scratch:

For hors'dourves we made a baked brie with caramelized onions and deviled eggs. To drink I made a fresh cranberry syrup for a cranberry mojito. For dinner we had: Roasted Duck, Herb Roasted Chicken, A.J's mashed potatoes, Ducken gravy, cranberry/goat cheese/candied pecan spinach salad, lemoney brussels sprouts, baked sweet potatoes, and french banquette. Then for dessert I made my mom's chocolate chip cookies pie and a non-traditional pumpkin pie (using the pie crust A.J. had taught me to make a few days prior). 

Now doesn't that sound delicious?? It was, it really really was! And luckily for us we had another couple over to share it with us (and to validate its greatness)!

We were so proud of our efforts! And it went off hitch free, barring my "little" cut and a couple burns (battle scars baby! Poured in my blood, sweat and tears!)

Tomorrow I am going to put up a couple of the most successful recipes - the recipes that are so good they will be made for special occasions year round up here!

Next year - come on over! You're invited to have Thanksgiving with us!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Pre-Turkey Day Surprise! Part 4

Date: November 24, 2010
Location: Granite NW, Silverdale

Another 12 hours of sleep... The dog to my right, my cat and husband to my left, my face covered by the sheets....

Is that my phone ringing?? Time to wake up.

*Fingers Crossed*

Aw, crap. Still no power, but at least its Dad on the phone. Oh great, he's spazzing out a little, I think he thinks we are dying.... maybe we are... I'll call him back. How could you not love him.

Well, here we are, day 3, hour 40, still no power. And oh goodie! The temperature INSIDE our house has dipped down to 43 degrees... Oh... and the fish has died. My last friend from Lee's Aquarium. The betta I smuggled in from Florida... crap. Ok... this isn't fun anymore.

 Joule misses his best buddy...

I called my Dad back - how amazing is he. He was sending us a "care package." Two propane lanterns and an indoor-safe, propane space heater! We were officially prepared for the next one (I say this at the time because this BETTER not last till those things show up)! YAY!

Then it happens - clock strikes 9am.


And that was it. How weird. Like the previous days were just a dream. It was like nothing had happened at all, almost like we were just pretending to be miserable. Very, very weird and unique feeling.

We ended up going to breakfast, the house was still cold, too cold to stay in. We went to Shari's - think PNW Denny's, with GOOD food, better prices and no creepy low-lifes. I guess the day before they were so busy that they ran out of food, it had been 2 days since they were able to get a shipment in! Today there was a long line too, but it gave me an excuse to talk to some ladies who'd lived in the area for quite sometime. They said that this was normal, that we all usually loose power 2-3 times per year and it usually stays off for 12-36 hours... I personally think they should put that in the "Welcome to Kitsap" packet. In addition to "by the way, we do not set any money aside for road plowing or roadside emergency services"... which they don't.

Looking back, this probably didn't warrant a 4 Part story, but at the time it seemed just too crazy to be real. Visiting Aunt Ellen. My parents surprising us. My first snowy storm. My first 40 hour power out. My first snowman in MY backyard... And best of all, we were able to save our first Thanksgiving!

The End.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Pre-Turkey Day Surprise! Part 3

Date: November 23, 2010
Location: Granite NW, Silverdale

*Eyes are closed* We've all been for twelve hours (there's not much to do in the powerless night) now, maybe! Just maybe, the power will be on! *fingers crossed*

*Open Eyes*

Aw crap. Now going on hour 15 with no power... goodie. This is officially a first for Chad and I. Neither of us had ever gone longer than an hour or two without power.

Well, that was a let down, but whatever, life must go on - we need to find coffee!

Did you know I have a single burner camping stove? A bit of fuel? An Italian espresso maker? AND a hammer?? What does that mean? COFFEE! The hammer of course was used to "grind" the beans. Duh.

I know, we're geniuses. Its ok, no applause necessary.

Don't let the fireplace fool you. Its basically just for show. A pathetic gas fire, warm to only about 3 feet in front of it.... Which was being hogged by Joule....

Now that the important things were taken care of, it was time to take care of business...

On Sunday, we bought everything for our Thanksgiving feast... a duck, two chickens, cheese, veggies... and now we didn't have a refrigerator... or freezer... and things were starting to get a little warm....

Luckily, its still below freezing outside, and we have plastic bins! YES! All the stuff from the freezer, in a bin, on the porch! All the stuff from the fridge, in a bin, in the garage! Thanksgiving is saved!

After that is was all... no hill (you know, not up-hill, or down-hill), just a day we were trying to make the best of. Chad ended up getting a snow day off work. We played some cards, bundled up at one point to go out and make a snowman. The best part was, my friend Bryan and his family invited us over for dinner and some warmth - they lived on the other side of Silverdale... they had power... 

And that was that. We came home and slept for another 12 hours. At this point our house was about 43 degrees, so we all slept together to stay warm - Chad, Joule, Me, then Milli.