OURSTORY

Goodbye 2011.

7:36 PM

What a year it has been! And how the year has flown by. 2011 started off with a bang and just kept on going. What faithfulness the Lord has shown us during this time and continues to show us.

January 15, I wed my love and best friend, then we were off to the Big Island, Maui, and Oahu for a 2 week honeymoon. On the 21st, I turned 21! We returned home to the most overwhelming pile of gifts I have ever seen, finished the winter and spring in our little condo, Will returned to school, then came summer, more birthdays, and moving time!

The perfect little two bedroom house smack dab downtown became available, and despite many applicants we got the home. We scrubbed and painted for days, then move-in time came. This house has been the greatest little home. It is totally perfect for us and where we are at right now. The Lord definitely knew just what we needed, I'd say even more so than we did (but doesn't he always?). He provided big time. This new place to call home didn't come without work, but work we were both very capable of doing. And boy was it worth it!. For more on our move, and possibly a good laugh, check out my post HERE.

By early summer we settled into our new home and loved every minute of it. Then came…baby news! On Father's day of this year we learned of our little blessing. We were expecting our first! What a wonderful, challenging time this was. We felt a million emotions during the next 12 weeks, the longest 12 weeks of my life. In August, our hearts broke. We lost our baby, but with the Lord and incredible friends and family to lean on we made it through this challenging time. We learned to trust our God on a whole new level. It was by His grace this baby was brought into our lives and also taken out. We learned, in a way that couldn't be more real, that the Lord gives as he does take away, and to trust him with the thing very dearest to us, our growing baby. We prayed long and hard for this child, we asked the Lord for a miracle, then we waited 6 long weeks. The outcome didn't look good, and 6 weeks after we learned of our little one's poor outcome, we miscarried.  I have never experienced pain as I did on the night and in the following days, but as painful as this lose was, we grew immensely, in our own relationship and in our relationship with the Lord. We drew close and Will and I grew together more than ever. The next few months were hard without a doubt, but we knew the Lord was on our side.

Before we knew it, summer passed, and then fall. Suddenly Thanksgiving was staring us right in the face. By fall, Will's school semester was well underway. Things were well. We even managed to sneak away for a few days. We headed straight to Oregon for a grand feast with lots of family to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday, as well as to share some very special news. Once again, we were expecting.
This time with a thriving baby. The start of my pregnancy wasn't a piece of cake, but we are doing wonderful now. Our little baby had a twin, which has now joined our first and is with the Lord. One day we will get to meet these little munchkins, and I cannot wait. One day we will also share with our little one on the way, the story of his/her two siblings who came ahead of them.

Now, rugby has begun again for Mr. Cooper, school has come to an end (at least for a couple more weeks), and Christmas flew by. Today we celebrate the beginning of the New Year almost as we did last year around this time, on Oahu, surrounded by family. In a couple weeks our anniversary will follow. I cannot believe it. 1 year already. Where has time gone? I also couldn't be more thankful for my husband, who has been by my side every minute, every second of every day. Year 2011, has had many ups and downs no doubt, but I don't feel as my husband and I's relationship could be any more solid. We know it has to be of the Lord.

We have witnessed and felt loss, watched both of our parent's 25 year plus marriages fall apart, felt heartache, joy, excitement, love, and so much more this year. We have had much to gain, raw, down-to-earth life experience, and much healing. I wouldn't change a second of this year for anything, but with that said, we also gladly welcome in 2012.

And that we will do his evening! We will be with friends and family here on Oahu! We've spent the afternoon making lots of food. Soon we will sit around the campfire, watch the sun go down, visit, eat, laugh, and play. As midnight approaches, we will head to the rooftop, where we will lie and watch a spectacular firework show. Tomorrow we board a plane, and fly back home. Until then, we enjoy our last few moments of 2011 and reflect back.

I am so excited to see what is in store for year 2012.

Happy New Years friends! May you be blessed in this year ahead of us.

Love,
The Cooper Clan.

OURSTORY

Merry Christmas!

1:56 PM

Just a quick Merry Christmas to you and yours, but most importantly, Happy birthday Jesus! Thank you for entering the world in human form and walking with us so that we might know you, know God. We love you.

May your day be merry and bright, surrounded with family and loved ones remembering the birth of our Savior today.


Lots of love from the Cooper's.

RECIPES

Holiday Recipe Countdown: Whole Wheat Chocolate Brown Sugar Cookies

9:52 AM

Don't turn you nose up just yet! Chocolate sugar cookies? That's right, really, does it get better? And after all those fluffy, white, floury treats I know you've been indulging on or plan to indulge on in just a couple short days, a little whole wheat flour will be a welcomed change in your diet. :)


I know these are cut out in hearts, but do your own thing. Cut out reindeer, stockings, Santas…whatever you have up your sleeve. Or tuck this recipe away until Valentine's Day and bring it out then. 


Whatever you do, just don't forget to enjoy. Bring on the holiday cheer.


Without further ado, Whole Wheat Chocolate Brown Sugar Cookies from Joy The Baker.


(Photo courtesy of Joy The Baker)


Come tomorrow, we will take a short break on our Recipe Countdown. Perhaps it'll give you some time to catch up on all these delicious goodies.


Until then,
♥Mallorie

RECIPES

Holiday Recipe Countdown: Persimmon Cookies

4:48 PM

Are you on recipe overload yet? I'm beginning to feel that way. ;)

Up today are these lovely Persimmon Cookies. I have 2 big, ripe, and juicy persimmons waiting for me to use them up. I will spend the evening doing just that.

I think most people use persimmons to bake with (well those who use persimmons to begin with), however this is my first persimmon baking experience. I like to put them in the fridge and slice them up. I really like them plain as long as they are super chilled.

Just click the link above for the recipe.

Up tomorrow: Whole Wheat Chocolate Brown Sugar Sugar Cookies

RECIPES

Holiday Recipe Countdown: Chocolate Truffles

10:51 AM

As simple as 1,2,3. This easy truffle recipe is great as is, but has endless possibilities. 


Chocolate Truffles
Serves: 30+


Ingredients:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Method:

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla until no streaks remain. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Shape into 1 inch balls. A melon baller works great for shaping and for making equally sized truffles.

If desired, roll truffles in unsweetened cocoa powder, place in mini cup-cake liners when finished.

Other toppings and ideas include: ground nuts, coconut, sprinkles, drizzle with white chocolate or dip truffle in milk chocolate for a firm shell, flavor chocolates with liquors and other flavors, omitting the vanilla. 

You go from here and have fun with it!

We kept ours simple, opting to coat them in unsweetened cocoa powder. They were fabulous.

Up tomorrow: Persimmon cookies

RECIPES

Holiday Recipe Countdown: Eggnog Baked French Toast {Perfect for Christmas morning}

10:53 AM

Hopefully, at least a few of you have been enjoying these posts. Up today, Eggnog Baked French Toast, a knockoff from the Pioneer Women's original Cinnamon Baked French Toast. What I love most about this recipe is that almost all of it can be done the night before, in fact, it's better that way. Come Christmas morning, your guests and family will think you've been up preparing for hours when really all you had to do was dump on the topping, and pop this dish in the oven. Wa-la, tasty french toast! 


Eggnog Baked French Toast: Serves 16 small servings


Ingredients:

1 loaf French Bread or a combination of breads if you have leftovers
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups eggnog
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
Maple syrup-for serving
Method:
Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Tear French bread into chunks, or cut into cubes, and evenly place in the pan.
 In a large bowl, mix together eggs, eggnog, sugar, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Pour evenly over bread. Cover pan with saran wrap and store in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
 In a separate bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter pieces and cut into the dry mixture using a fork or your hands. Combine until the mixture resembles sand with a few pea sized chunks. Cover and store mixture in the refrigerator.
Come Christmas morning, or when you are ready to bake the French toast, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove French toast from refrigerator and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the French toast is set and golden brown.
Serve warm with maple syrup.
A merry Christmas morning to you!
Come back tomorrow for Easy Decadent Truffles!

RECIPES

Holiday Recipe Countdown: Ginger Molasses Skillet Cake

11:04 AM

Ginger Molasses Skillet Cake: serves 8+
Ingredients:
2 2/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt
4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
6 oz butter
1 1/3 cups molasses
1 1/3 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

plus…
1/4 lb. butter, cut into 8 slices
dark brown sugar
molasses


Method:
Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside. Place the brown sugar, 6 oz butter, and molasses in a saucepan and heat until the butter is melted. Stir the sugar and butter mixture into the dry ingredient mix and add the milk and vanilla.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray eight 61⁄2-inch skillets with cooking spray or two medium/large cast iron pans. Place a pat of butter, a teaspoon of brown sugar, and a teaspoon of molasses in each skillet. Place the skillets on baking sheets and heat in the oven until the butter is melted. Remove the skillets from the oven and fill with the batter. Bake the skillets on the baking sheets for approximately 20 minutes.

Serve warm with a big scoop of rich French Vanilla Ice Cream.

Pairing Suggestions: Vanilla-bean infused Cognac, Tawny Port, or coffee. At Christmas, eggnog is the perfect indulgence!!

Enjoy thoroughly 



It's not beautiful, but trust me, a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and a little powder sugar dusting goes a long way.

Up tomorrow: Baked Eggnog French Toast (A twist on The Pioneer Women's cinnamon baked french toast, perfect for Christmas morning).

RECIPES

Holiday Recipe Countdown: Rich Vanilla Pudding

8:28 PM

Well, today marked the day of Rugby season in the Cooper household. We (my father-in-law and I), spent the whole day at the rugby field for a little pre-season warm-up with my husband. It was good to see him back on the field, as well as still in one piece two games later. He walked away with just one nasty hit. Did you know heads bounced? I think my heart stopped for a moment, but here we are hours later, and no sign of concussion. Whew.  We will spend many Saturdays the next few months at the field. It's time for me to bring on the layers! I have spent most of the evening since then, thawing out and tending to this nasty cold of mine, while the boys enjoy a movie out. Being sick while pregnant is really the pits.


Anyhow, whether you are cooped up (no pun intended) inside or out and about getting holiday shopping done, take a quick break for this one. One round of making this and you'll never go back to instant pudding mix again (or at least you will never want to). Your house will be smelling like holiday in no time! It's simple, it's easy, it's delicious.

Rich French Vanilla Pudding: Serves 4
Ingredients:
3 egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
2 tbsp corn starch
pinch salt
2 tbsp 
unsalted butter (no substitutes)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Method: 
Whisk egg yolks with 1/4-cup of the milk to help them strain through a fine-mesh strainer to get any bits of egg white protein.

Mix this strained egg mixture into the remaining milk in a sauce pan.

Add the sugar, cornstarch and salt.

Cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat until it comes to a simmer.

Whisk in the butter, vanilla and food colour just until the butter is completely incorporated.

Immediately pour into four dessert cups or one medium sized bowl if you are going the super casual/I am going to eat this whole bowl myself route.

Cover with plastic wrap so that it’s touching the surface of the pudding.

Cool in a refrigerator until well chilled. (I don't know about you, but luke warm pudding just isn't my thing).

Are you convinced yet?

No photos to go with this post, but I trust that you can picture what vanilla pudding looks like. If only you could smell it, you'd be in the kitchen in a jiffy! ;)

Tune back in tomorrow for a recipe on molasses skillet cakes! If that isn't "holiday" I don't know what is. Picture a giant chewy gingerbread cookie, in cake form.

Until then,
Mal

RECIPES

Holiday Recipe Countdown: Crisp Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies

2:32 PM

I've been away awhile, well, not away, just busy, but today officially marks day 1 of a 2 week vacation! Woohoo! No more excuses! One week will be spent home, the other, Christmas in Hawaii. What a new holiday experience it will be this year! I've got to get my baking in now. I don't imagine I will be doing it there. ;)

Join me as we countdown the days until Christmas with delicious holiday sweet treats. Well...almost to Christmas. We will spend most of the 23rd in the airport and on an airplane, so forgive me if I don't get a post up on that day.

And now to start this countdown off... Crisp Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies! As much as I would love to take credit for the invention of these mouth-watering cookies, I cannot. I found the recipe over at Smitten Kitten. I can't get enough of these cookies! Seriously, they melt in your mouth. If you are not a white chocolate fan, don't let these turn you away. I am a dark chocolate kind of girl myself, but these clearly are the exception. 






Sneak any that don't end up in your mouth in your cookie jar, or better yet, pack them up and send them to friends and family. They will love you for it.


Up tomorrow: French Vanilla Pudding

OURSTORY

It's all about family.

11:22 AM

Well, we are back. We had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday in Oregon. We were blessed big time by family. Though it was a quick trip, it was a busy one. We celebrated Thanksgiving, a birthday, went wine tasting (who would have known, in Oregon?), watched a few football games, enjoyed a couple nice dinners out, and even managed to come home with 4 brand new tires, wipers, air filter, break pads and a spic and span car, fully serviced! Thanks Uncle! What a blessing that was! I don't know about you, but car "stuff" seems to fall just about dead last around here. It's expensive, and well if it runs, and gets you to and from it's all right, right? I know, not the best outlook, but that's kind how it goes. Anyhow, we had an absolutely lovely Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you did too. Nothing beats being around family.

Here are a few snapshots from our trip. These fine photos are complimentary of my cell phone. ;) Perhaps one day I'll take photos with a real camera.

(A little wine tasting)

(Sister, sister)

(Winter is arriving)

(What to do when you're not tasting? Hubs and I cozied up by the fire and enjoyed games at one of the chalk board tables at an Oregon winery. Talk about great idea! And family friendly too.)

(One of the best places to be, Grandma and Grandpa's)

(Oregon sky, we'll see you soon)

Until next time.

OURSTORY

Headed north.

8:49 PM

Happy holidays friends! Are you as excited for the holiday season as I am? Tomorrow we head north for the holiday, where we will be greeted by lots of wonderful family. We are Oregon bound. What do your holidays look like this year? Will you be sticking around or traveling? It is a traveling kind of year for us. Come Christmas we are off to Hawaii through the New Year to be with Will's family. I have a feeling it is going to be a very different Christmas than I grew up with. No snow, in fact no cold what-so-ever. I am excited, but I am curious, without the snow and chill, will it still feel like Christmas? We will see!

On a side note, what holiday dish are you looking forward to the most? For me, it's got to be the mashed potatoes and of course dessert! Delish. The bountiful snacking isn't bad either ;)

Happy Thanksgiving (a little early).

craft

D.I.Y Fall Wreath

10:58 AM

'Tis the season for a new fall wreath.

Tutorial may be found here. How lovely are the mustard yellow roses completely covering Katie's wreath? These felt roses are easy and quick to make, but you'd never know from the look of them.



In case you are wondering, here is what you will need:
-1 grape vine wreath base
-felt
-scissors
-ink pen
-hot glue gun
-glue sticks
-ribbon or fabric scraps to hang your wreath
-and…a little patience


Do give this project a try. I love my new fall wreath. It is quite pleasing to return home, welcomed by the pumpkins on my porch, my tea cup bird feeder (which by the way, the birds love), and now this sweet homey wreath. Not to mention the crisp cool air. Fall is truly here. ♥

recipe

Recipe Share: Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies {Yes, zucchini}

7:01 PM

I have been meaning to share this recipe for quite some time now, and well, now that zucchini is quite out of season, here it is. Sorry about that, it was not my intention. However, if you somehow end up with loads of zucchini, now you'll know what to do with it, or at least some of it. ;)

Don't let the zucchini in this recipe scare you away, these brownies just may be the best brownies I've ever had...to this day. Ooey, gooey, moist, and delicious. There is nothing not to love.

Without further ado…

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies
Recipe: yield 16 brownies

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups shredded zucchini (no skimping!)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 11 baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.

In a stand mixer, combine sugar, canola oil, and flour, combine until mixture resembles wet sand. While mixing, on low, add cocoa, zucchini, vanilla extract, salt and baking soda. Mix until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the brownies are set.

Cool on a wire rack. Cut brownies into squares and serve.

recipe

Recipe Share: Flavors of fall {Farfalle with roasted butternut squash in a sage brown butter cream sauce}

8:12 PM

I don't know about you, but I think fall has the best foods to offer of all the seasons. Nothing beats coming home to a house filled with the sweet aroma of pumpkin pie or a hot steamy pot of soup on the stove top just waiting to warm you up after a chilly day out, or winter squash roasting away. I could go on and on. With that said, fall is in full fledge at the Cooper home. I am taking full advantage of the delicious fall flavors while they are around, after all, it's only a few months of the year. Hubs seems to be enjoying it as well. :)

A couple nights ago, I made a pasta that I was ever so found of. I think I sort of surprised myself at how tasty it was! I used what we had around the house, and they happened to be the perfect ingredients in my opinion. I don't think I'd change a thing next time around. We will definitely be making this dish again and again. My mouth waters at the name of the dish. Seriously, what is better than a butter cream sauce? Please don't be intimidated by this dish, it is so easy and well worth it!

Farfalle with roasted butternut squash in a sage brown butter cream sauce
Ingredients: serves 4+

For the pasta:
1 box farfalle (the ones that look like bow ties)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 yellow onion, sliced
4-5 sage leaves, fresh, or dried…i used freshly dried ;)
3 TBS extra vigin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly shaved parmasean to top with

For the sauce:

6 TBS butter
3 TBS heavy cream
3 sage leaves, again, fresh or dried

Method (for the pasta):
Preheat oven to 350. Place squash, sweet potato, sliced onion, and sage (crumbled if dry, chopped if fresh) on roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 30 minutes or until squash is soft. I didn't toss mine at all once in the oven. The less you touch the squash, the better. You don't want to end up with squash mush in your pasta noodles.

Boil farfalle until soft in salted water. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup cooking water.
Return to original cooking pot. Add roasted squash, sweet potato, and onion to drained pasta.

Method (for the sauce):
In a large sauce pan melt butter over medium high heat, toss in sage at this stage. Watch your butter carefully. You don't want burnt butter, just browned, which will result in a nice nutty flavor. If you end up with burnt butter (butter that becomes black), it is best to start over. After 1-2 minutes your butter should begin to froth. Continue to whisk occasionally. Browning should take 3-5 minutes depending upon your heat level. Once butter browns, reduce heat to medium, whisk in heavy cream. Whisk cream, butter, and sage for about 1 minute. The butter and cream should be bubbly and will slightly reduce. Once slightly reduced, remove from heat immedietly. Toss with pasta. Your pasta should be coated. If needed, add reserved pasta water a bit at a time, until you get your desired consistency. You shouldn't have to add the entire 1/2 cup, rather a tablespoon or so.

Garnish with sage if desired. Sprinkle with shaved parmesan and dig in!

We served our pasta with a large mixed green and slow roasted yellow bell tomato salad, tossed in balsamic. It was divine with the pasta! My husband's remark was that the meal tasted like Thanksgiving, only without the turkey. We finished our meal off with Brown Eyed Baker's pumpkin pie bars, topped generously with whipped cream, then dosed off into major food comas. :)

craft

Inspire Me: DIY Vintage Curtains

3:05 PM

Cost for fabulous DIY vintage kitchen curtains: $3.50 thrifted fabric + leftover hemp string and 2 small nails for hanging.
Time to complete project: maybe 10 minutes :)


(photo credit: Gridley & Graves)

I found fabric which must have previously been used as a curtain, and didn't need to use curtain clips which cut the cost by about $5, however I have some in my craft box waiting to be used. My fabric is light, like that in the first photo. In person, the curtain looks great! Next up: bathroom curtains, I'm on the hunt for the perfect fabric.

Until next time!

recipe

Recipe Share: Broiled Cod with Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto

2:46 PM

Fall is here and that means pumpkins! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin seeds! Here's a recipe to kick off a season full of good smells and comfort food, yet still light, but full of flavor, perfect for those last few days of summer.


Broiled Cod with Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto

Easy and delicious! (Healthy too!)

Recipe:  
serves 4

Ingredients:
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (shelled) (raw or roasted is fine)
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped scallion
3 medium garlic cloves
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

4 fillets cod
few slices lemon

Method:
Put it all in your food processor (cod and lemon slices exempt). Blend. Pesto should be somewhat corse in texture.

Turn oven to broil. Place cod on lightly oiled baking sheet or broiling pan. Top with lemon slices, salt and pepper. Broil 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven, add a blob of pesto to each fillet of fish. Return to oven for an additional 2 minutes.

Serve immediately and enjoy. Easy peasy lemon squeezey.

recipe

Recipe Share: Fresh Basil Pesto (with a twist) :)

9:36 AM

Hey guys!

Lately we have been taking full advantage of our Saturday morning farmer's market. We've been leaving with bags packed full of the sweetest nectarines and plums, peppers in ever color you can imagine, delicious varieties of tomatoes, and lots of basil! It has made for some tasty eating!

Here is a simple basil pesto recipe:

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (unsalted)
3-4 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor (olive oil exempt). Pulse a few times. Slowly add olive oil, stopping to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula until your ingredients are well blended!

I love the flavor from the sunflower seeds! Subtle, but not too subtle. ;) They are a nice change to pine nuts and a whole lot cheaper! Also, I didn't even miss the Romano cheese.

We've been enjoying our pesto over pasta with roasted veggies, roasted on chicken, and as a spread on sandwiches! So delicious.

Serves about 4, depending on how you use it.If you just use it as a sandwich spread, this recipe yields a lot!!

Enjoy!

OURSTORY

Life lately {To sum it all up}

10:44 PM

If only these posts would write themselves. ;)

I've got ideas for posts pilling up. Someday, I will get them here. Stick with me folks!

Life most surely is moving along. We've had some up times lately, a few down times, and well many days simply filled with the daily grind.. I feel like we are kind of just truckin' along right now. No new real exciting news to share.

On a side note, a few things:

1. I am totally stuck on lemons. Lemons in my tea, roasted with potatoes, steamed
with artichokes, on broccoli, in cakes, you name it, I’ve probably done it.
2. I can’t quit making fruit pies…tarts…galettes

3. The secret to the BEST whipped cream is powdered sugar. Why didn’t I discover
this sooner?
4. If you see padrons at the market, grab them! Tasty little peppers, popular in
Spain, and oh so fun to eat! It's all a guess who will get the spicy one! Pepper
roulette.

And….

5. Keep your eyes out for a new post! Introducing Kids Craft! Fun craft ideas
to do with your kiddos! Coming soon.








Until next time! That's all.

craft

Double-Duty Decorating: Fabric Gift Wrap

4:00 PM

Well guys, as things are settling down around here, I figured it is time to get some posts in! I have many new recipes to share, lots of photos and such, it is just a matter of getting it down here. That is always the most challenging part for me!

Let's get things started with another double-duty decorating idea! Simple as can be and resourceful. Fabric scrap wrapping. Wrapping paper that is. :)

A couple weeks ago I was going to a friend's bridal shower. Anyhow, I was timely about purchasing the gift, but when it came to wrapping I realized that quite frankly, I had nothing to wrap it in. I don't know about you, but I always do this! I focus on the gift, always forgetting the wrap part of it (with Christmas seeming to be the exception).

So…I turned to my craft box, pulled out some fabric scraps, and began cutting away. I cut big squares of fabric for the gifts, ribbon like pieces to hold the fabric together and WALA, with a bit of wrapping and some tying, wrapped gifts in no time. No tape necessary. :)

I think the final product came out very cute! A good solution when you are in a pinch!

What's your thoughts? To do, or not to do?



<3 Mal








FAITH

The house of God, forever.

1:29 PM

Well, here we are. After a month and counting, we lost our little one late Sunday night. It was a long and expected loss, yet no easier than if not expected. Part of me is relieved, closure I suppose, but here I am, confronted with grief I told myself I dealt with. I see now, I only shoved it away.

Though we may not know why our sweet baby only made it to such a tender age, one thing we know is true. Our first, dwells in the house of God, forever; resting in all God's goodness, peace, and love. For this we rejoice, even when our hearts are heavy.

Sweet love, you are in good hands now. Better hands than we could have ever provided you with, surrounded by more love than we could have ever gave to you. We look forward to the long awaited day we get to meet you. We will never forget you and the impact you made on our lives, the joy you brought. For this, we thank the Lord.

Here, we rest, knowing our God is with you.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Psalm 23


Goodbye, for only a short while, for it is said, each man's life is but a breath in the eyes of eternity.

We love you.


motherhood

A world away

10:35 PM

With so much going on around us lately, hubs and I packed up today for a long overdue date day. Better yet, one where most of the day there was no cell service, no 3G, no interruptions. We headed straight to Corte Madera where we browsed the lovely Free People store and loathed after items in Anthropologie. We actually made a great find! A lamp to hang in our dining room on sale from $198 to $34! It's like this one, but a more round, slightly bigger version. The square one would have been a lot of fun too! It is quite unique fasted out of burlap, wood, and cardboard rings for the shade. I do however like it in its uniqueness. Later we enjoyed a delicious shrimp scampi lunch, then we headed for the 1, Highway 1 that is. We slowly made our way home along the coast, stopping at various places and towns. How I have missed the ocean! There is nothing quite like that Northern California salty ocean breeze. I long for that smell, that smell is warm childhood memories, and brisk laughter-filled nights. What peace the stillness of the deep blue brings. I felt like we were a world away today. It was blissful. My love, the ocean breeze, great food, and good company, and some new tunes along the way. Our final stop before home was a delicious ice cream shop. Lavender and Chocolate Sin for me and Strawberry Rose sorbet for Will. What better way to end the day?







Where is your getaway?

craft

Double Duty Decorating:Tea cup bird feeder

11:14 AM

Now to get this double duty decorating feature up and running, first up a tea cup bird feeder. And it is just that, a cute little teacup and saucer (thrifted for $1.25), piled high with bird seed. I chose to place mine on our front porch. It only took the little birdies a couple days to find the seed. I love coming home to a fat little bird sitting in the entire cup, eating away.

As you will find, most of these double duty decorating ideas will be just that easy. These posts are mostly about finding items you already have or can easily and cheaply obtain, and using your imagination a little to re-purpose them. Re-purposing brings new life to old objects, which might otherwise never leave your cupboard again. ;)

Maybe it is that old vase from Grandma that is just too cute, but that you are tired of seeing flowers in, or it never quite fits the right amount of flowers in, or perhaps it is merely sentimental and actually kind of ugly.

Or perhaps it's that 3rd set of wine glasses you got for a wedding gift, which you will never use, but never returned either. We all have these things tucked away somewhere.

Let's dust off those old items and (finally) put them to use.

I find it fun and easy, and it adds a cute uniqueness to your abode. Some projects will require some change, many will not.




For another idea check out my post on making your own picture frame dry erase board. It can be found here.

Until next time,
Mal

FAITH

Comfort Verse

8:57 PM

Hey friends,
So much for that double-duty decorating idea to be up in a few days right?
It's been a rough few days to say the least. I had my first ultrasound on Wednesday. We got some heart-breaking news. Our baby's heart beat cannot be found. Things aren't looking well. We are holding onto hope that our little one is still okay, but the doctors say I will miscarry in time. For now, we wait. Blood tests should tell more, but we won't have results until probably Thursday.

It has been a trying time. Not knowing is really the hardest, sitting still.

I have been holding onto Deuteronomy 31:8. The Lord gave me this verse months ago, and it has become my comfort verse. I return to it again and again. I cling to it, but still I am scared. My heart hurts.

I am learning to trust the Lord in such a deeper way.

I know our Lord is good, I know our little one is in good hands, but sometimes it is hard to see the big picture in the moment.

"It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."

FAITH

Bake Station

2:00 PM



Hey all,

Today I was doing some baking, which was long over due might I add, and as I mixed and stirred, I realized, I love my new home. No, this isn't the first realization I have had of this, it happens all the time, this time however, I took a minute to actually tell the Lord of my thankfulness, to pray. The Lord has been so faithful in providing for us. I hope we never forget this. Everything about our house is really quite perfect for us…the size, amenities, every little nook and cranny.

As I baked, I realized just how fortunate we are. Not only do we have a home, but I have, no joke, the perfect little bake station in our kitchen. I mean really, do we need this? Probably not, definitely not, but it is there, and I LOVE it. Its like my own little nook in the kitchen separated by cabinets that holds all my baking goodies, and provides plenty of counter space. I think this area may very well be becoming one of the places I like most in our home. Though I feel a bit silly relating this simple little space to the glory of God, the Lord uses all sorts of things big and small to bring us to him, to draw us closer, and though it was this funny little space that opened my eyes, it reminded me how great our God is.

It is my prayer that all that the Lord has done for us, my family and I, would remain in the forefront of our minds. That we would continue to be astonished by the Lord's ways. Even in silly little ways such as this.



"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well."
-Psalm 139:14

OURSTORY

News Share!

12:21 PM

Hello all,

I apologize for my absence, but hubby and I have been very busy. So, what have we been up to?


Work, work, work, house projects (we finally have just about all of them done…hurray), we enjoyed a fabulous day in San Francisco, as well as a visit from Will's father, and we managed to seek away to Oregon for the holiday weekend. It was blissful.

What else you may ask?

Well...

We also have some exciting news to share with you readers. We are expecting our first child! We are some very excited parents-to-be. This news came to us on Father's Day morning. It was the perfect Father's day surprise. We couldn't be more thrilled.

I'll share more later on this. We get to see our little one for the first time next week. :)

Also, I would like to introduce something new to this blog. From time to time you may see posts on double duty decorating ideas. In just a few days I will have the first post up. Basically, these posts will consist of ideas using objects you may already have in your home or that you could easily thrift, and ways to put them to new uses. Simple enough, right? And totally functional and cute, even easy on your wallet. Keep your eyes out for these posts.

Well that's about it in a nutshell, a quick catch up of where I've been at.

It's nice to be back.

<3 Mal

craft

DIY: Fabric scrap wreaths

1:36 PM

Head on over to me & my scraps and get inspired to make your own and super easy summer wreath. All you need is a base for your wreath (I used a styrofoam one I picked up at the craft store a few months ago. They are super cheap), a hot glue gun, fabric scraps (any will do), and some buttons! Ribbon is a plus, but I didn't have any, so I just used more left-over fabric from previous projects.

All in all, mine took about 2 hours to make, but I was moving pretty slow. I am sure you could make your own wreath in about an hour and a half, maybe less, depending on size of course.

I snapped a few photos on the computer using my photobooth camera (sorry for the low picture quality) while making my wreath. Michelle, from me & my scraps has photos of the process in much more detail,and much better quality photos, if I do say so, so check out her page for the deets and more inspiration.

Anyhow, I am really happy with how my wreath came out, and better yet, I didn't spend a penny. I already had everything in my craft box! With the sunshine out this morning, my new wreath looked beautiful on our front door. Cheery! It just happened that the colors I used from fabric I already had, go really well with the outside colors of our house!

Hopefully, I have inspired you as Michelle's blog inspired me!


Cut out 2 different size circles from your fabric scraps, hot glue together, top with a button.



Wrap wreath base with fabric, hot glue to keep in place. Begin placing your circles on your wreath, gluing down as you go.



Continue doing so all the way around your wreath, slightly overlap, unless you want the fabric you used underneath to show.



Stop gluing when you are satisfied with the overall look. :)



Use ribbon or fabric to loop around the wreath.



Hang and admire your good work!


I do hope some of you give this project a go. If you do, I would love to see what your wreath looks like. Please share a photo! Perhaps I will get a better one of mine in the daylight. By the time I hung my wreath last night, it was pretty dark out.

Also, if you don't want to put a nail in your front door, pick up a wreath hanger at the craft store, they are only a couple bucks, and you can use it over and over again. My front door just already happened to have a nail in it from previous tenants, so I figured why not use it?

Have a lovely day all.


Mal ♥

 

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