Dessert, Anyone?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Really, where did April go? It just arrived and is suddenly telling us goodbye. With summer growing closer and closer, fresh fruit in abundance on the market shelves, and a yearning for warm sun on my skin, I have decided to make a summer dessert for after dinner enjoyment tonight. It's a recipe I have grown up with, my mom having made the recipe for as long as I can remember. It screams sunshine, happiness, and home for me. And because I find myself missing home quite a bit these days (in addition to that summertime craving), I felt drawn to put together a comfort food dish. I hope Pete likes it...wait why I am questioning that, the boy loves food and more than that he loves strawberries! So, a homemade strawberry shortcake should certainly get 5 gold stars from him. It's such a simple treat, calling for limited ingredients and combining fresh flavors. Of course, I want to share it so that you too can have a taste of summer!

Mama's Strawberry Shortcake

What You'll Need:
  • 2 cups Jiffy mix
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • Diced strawberries (as many as you like)
  • Light brown sugar
  • 4 TBSP melted butter 

What You'll Do:
  • Combine the jiffy mix and milk until it is a soft dough. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/2" thick. Transfer it from the counter to a greased baking pan. 
    • If you want to make smaller versions, than use a large cup to cut out little round individual shortcakes. I'm a fan of a giant shortcake, it's more fun! 
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes unti it is a light golden brown. Basically it will look like a giant biscuit.
  • Slice the shortcake in half (length wise/horizontally). Put the top layer on another pan for the time being. 
  • Sprinkle as much brown sugar as you would like on the bottom layer, followed by slowly pouring/spreading the melted butter on top, (make sure not to use too much, which would make the shortcake soggy). Then add the strawberries
  • Replace the top layer and repeat the previous step.
  • Serve it warm with a helping of whip cream or cover it with saran wrap and place in the fridge until it's time to eat it! (Add the whip cream just before ready to eat).

All In A Weekend's Time

Monday, April 29, 2013
We ate, and ate, and ate, and ate some more this weekend. With Pete's college roommate in town for a visit, we decided on exploring more of this area and discover all that if offers. So we strolled around in the downtown mall where I was tempted to purchase all the flowers waiting for the taking, the boys played with cars, trains, and planes, and the three of us enjoyed midday coffee drinks. Spring, bursting with blooms and a bright color palette that immediately boosted our moods, was all around us as we walked around. The temperature couldn't have been more perfect, as it settled in the mid-seventies for the entirety of the day. We followed-up our downtown tour with a grilled barbecue lunch (any excuse to use the grill and sit on our balcony) and some games. And yes, we had dinner too (boys eat like crazy!) at a family-owned Italian restaurant with food the size of your head. We didn't stop there either. Ice cream cones from the corner creamy were dessert. If you haven't caught on, food was most certainly a huge theme for the weekend. Truthfully, after all the indulging, I'm not sure how I didn't pack on a few extra pounds...must have been countered with all that downtown walking, right?! Saturday was fantastic and like the energizer bunny, it never stopped. We packed as much activity into twelve hours as was possible. Which means, Sunday was the down day, spent relaxing while the rain refreshed the earth outside. Now I find myself wanting another weekend just like this last one; funny how something so wonderful leaves you wanting more. 

Post By Numbers

Friday, April 26, 2013
The best way to sum up my week looks a little something like this...

2: times I've painted my nails this week (so indecisive)

315: engagement pictures I received from our photographer (see them here)

4: friends we hung out with on Tuesday

120: minutes it took to clean the downstairs of our apartment

3: healthy dinners prepared and happily eaten throughout the week

90: minutes of lunchtime dates with my love

1: home project completed (check out that ottoman here)

60: save-the-dates addressed (thanks mama!)

8: times I scrolled through our engagement photos because I'm completely obsessed

12 +:sweet treat cravings I've had

7: times we rearranged furniture in the living room (we finally found a way that works!)

68: photo prints ordered

19: minutes until the weekend officially begins

Countless: times I've felt blessed this week

May you and yours have an amazing weekend!!

Relax, Put Your Feet Up

Thursday, April 25, 2013
I have been wanting an ottoman for the living room for quite some time. Not just any ottoman though, one that could act as storage in some way and would lighten up the space with a fun fabric. Originally, I was thinking that Pete and I could easily assemble one with a wood palette, and I would opt for a blue ikat fabric. But the other weekend we were given a crate by a friend that just so happened to be a comparable size to the ottoman we were dreaming up in our heads. It wasn't what I had once envisioned, but when given lemons, why not make lemonade...and in this case when given a crate, why not make an ottoman??

Lucky for us, we already had leftover foam, scrap wood, and stain from previous projects. Taking all that into consideration, the only purchase we needed to make to complete our ottoman was fabric. With our good fortune in mind, we decided to make our adopted crate into an ottoman. So our first 'to-'do' on this project was finding the right material for covering the foam. We selected a woven textile with a neutral pattern, and although not the blue ikat pattern I had been hoping for, it fits our style and furniture. Not to mention it will match any future items we decide to place in a future living room. So our ottoman will easily transition from room to room with it's simple cream color scheme and I can't complain about that. The best part...there was just enough fabric left on the spool to fit our dimensions and it only cost us $2.34. We lucked out big time. Our entire ottoman cost us under three dollars and we are thrilled!

So after rearranging some wood slats, sanding it down, building a top piece with scrap wood, staining, covering the foam with fabric, and screwing it all together, we completed our ottoman over a three day period. It now sits in our living room perfectly nestled between the couch and chair. And after staring at the fabric long enough, in combination with how it accents our stained wood, I'm in love with it and glad we picked it. Although, the ottoman's height is slightly too tall (because of the height of our foam), we are happy as can be with the finished product (umm...hello we spent hardly any money on it!). The finishing touches will come with some woven wood baskets for storage placed underneath the top, foam layer. Not only did we get a place to rest our feet, but we also got extra seating if needed and some cute storage!

After slats were rearranged and before it was stained or sanded. 
After staining...we've come up with our own special blend of two stains to get this color (it's my fave!)
Our foam top. We covered it with white fabric first before putting on our patterned fabric. It's a good way to keep the foam from showing through your chosen fabric. Not to mention it's great reinforcement.
A perfect addition!
Who wouldn't want to rest their feet on this?!

Wedding Wednesday: Engagement Photos!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Pete and I are engaged, we're really getting married in less than six months. The more that gets planned and done, the more it feels like this is really happening and not just a dream. That's exactly what hit us when we took our engagement photos a few weeks ago (which was so much fun!). Pete and I were immediately overcome with the reality of the moment and so joyful in the outlook of our future. Taking the photos made a permanent and tangible memory of our journey to becoming husband and wife. These captured images will be the photos that adorn the walls in our home, that our children will see and comment on how young we look, and that will serve as a lasting memory for us to recall after decades of marriage. They may just be photos, but for us they speak volumes of our commitment to each other, the adoration we have for one another, the unconditional love we share, and the friendship that makes the foundation of our relationship. In all, I simply can't wait to marry this man!

All photos taken by Mary at MerryStudios