Archive | December, 2013

Real Gingerbread House

21 Dec

This is the first time I have ever made the gingerbread for a gingerbread house instead of using a pre-made kit or simply using graham crackers. We ate half of the gingerbread when it was fresh and warm out of the oven then used the rest for the house.

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Here is the recipe:


Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Bars 


1/2 cup butter, softened (save wrapper)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

3/4 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup molasses

little bit of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and salt

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line jelly roll pan with parchment paper and rub with the butter wrapper, set aside

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Stir in egg, vanilla and molasses.  Whip 1-2 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients and mix until dry ingredients are just combined.  Press into prepared pan and bake 20-22 minutes or until edges are barely starting to brown.  Cool completely.

Sweater Leg Warmers

5 Dec

I am a Shark Tank addict.  I love watching that show on Friday nights and seeing all the incredible new inventions and ideas, and I also love when some people have terrible ideas because then the sharks can give said person a reality check.  I have a secret life goal to be on that show some day.  Don’t you all just feel like you have a million dollar idea rolling around in your head and all you have to do is pull it out of your brain and you’ll magically be filthy rich?  Well, we can dream right?

Anyways.  I was watching a few weeks ago and Grace and Lace Co was on the show with her husband.  She has a simple etsy shop where she sells leg warmers and really adorable long stockings with lace on top.  Since tall boots are all the rage at the moment- these are very popular since they stick out above the boot.  She has 57,364 sales as of this moment and she sells most of her products for $25-$40.  Holy Moses.

After watching this show I headed downstairs, cut up a sweater and made myself and Sophi some leg warmers in about 5 minutes.

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Okay people, what is our million dollar idea going to be???

Greenhouse Gaffe

2 Dec

On late fall gardening, masquerading, and social media angst…

DSC_6909As we had hoped back in May, our greenhouse allowed us to continue growing vegetables well into the month of October!  And this was, in fact, quite an accomplishment. Up here in the Northland we actually experienced sub-freezing temperatures during a cold snap back in August, and overnight low temps were periodically below freezing throughout September and October.  However, once the cold hit, we moved our plants into the greenhouse, which provided plenty of heat during the day to keep our peppers and tomatoes growing, and a few small heat lamps protected them from the frost during cold nights.  By all accounts it was a successful first experience with a greenhouse.DSC_6906

…or should I say, by most accounts.

See, several weeks ago, Caitlyn had been urging me to do a post about the greenhouse.  Many of my pepperoncini, jalapeno, and serrano peppers (all of which I planted way too late in the summer) were burgeoning during the extended growing time in the fall, and I was anticipating a decent harvest that would have never been possible without the greenhouse.  I was proud of our success and was looking forward to sharing it with you all.

And isn’t that how it goes? We do something nifty, or think of something clever, or disclose something humorously self-effacing, and all of a sudden we’ve got an invigorating number of blog hits and followers, or an inspiring number of ‘likes’ under our status.

This is an undeniably significant process for most of us interacting on social media, and it’s become the standard by which our thoughts, experiences, and lives are deemed valuable.  There’s an increasing awareness in our culture that rendering one’s life “likeable” has become the existential quest (and subsequent crisis) of the social media age.  Thus we present ourselves in such a way that we will be “liked” (or “unliked” if one’s persona is to play the foil), and therefore feel fulfilled.

DSC_6907So the greenhouse was moving right along in October and I had big plans for a blog post.  And then it got cold.  Fast.  And I overestimated my greenhouse’s ability to hold off temps in the low twenties.  And four months of growing is no match for one night of a hard freeze.  And plants that are meant to grow in hot, humid climates, pretty much just roll over and die once it becomes clear that no such weather exists for them.

DSC_6908So in spite of our valiant effort at prolonging the growing season, it was a total loss.  Dark brown basil, frozen peppers, iced tomatoes.

And, of course, I considered not blogging about it at all.  But then I thought, “What the heck? Why not pull back the curtain on the façade often purported by blogs like ours and share something that didn’t go so well?”DSC_6910

Now, I understand that losing a few peppers isn’t actually that big of a deal, and I’m therefore not breaking any ground by “coming clean” about my loss.  Furthermore, I understand that most blogs aren’t written to be transparent representations of one’s life (that would be creepy).  Conversely, many online personas thrive on over-sharing in a way that, ironically, still perpetuates the problem, as one’s life is projected like a sort of reality drama in which we are all invited to comment and console.

So I write this only to say that, yes, we love our family’s life together and we enjoy sharing it with you all.  And yes, we often make mistakes or things don’t go so well; losing a few peppers is merely a blithe example of this.  But if you find yourself disoriented by the infinite world of comparison, self-advertisement, and desire to be “liked” in the social media age, let this post remind you that we all fall far short of the personas we project.  And that’s okay, because we are always so much more.

And to put everything into perspective, how about some pictures of cows…

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