Archive for January, 2012

Folks who live in New England tend to fall easily into seasonal crankiness.  When it is hot in the summer, it is too hot and in the winter, after the first snow storm, suddenly it is the longest, most horrible winter ever.  I think we are all collectively happy for about twenty minutes in the spring and fall when the weather is completely innocuous.  We probably don’t even realize that we’re happy about the weather either because we’re all fighting over who should be president.

Well, it is snowing and it is a Saturday.  This means that unless you happen to have a weekend job, you have a perfect excuse to just.stay.home.

I think we can all agree (unlike presidential elections) that the best thing on a snowy day is fresh chocolate chip cookies and some hot chocolate.


This is Pierre, my red mixer.  I love him.  He’s french and he does whatever I ask him too and a lot of stuff I don’t even know about yet.  He’s a good man.  Don’t tell Justin.  I don’t want him to get jealous of Pierre.


Piper hung out for a bit while I was baking, but then ran up to take a nap.  First thing this morning, while the roads were still in good shape, we took Piper and Neum up to the dog park to run them.  I was having visions of being stuck in the house with them all day today and it was not pretty.  It is for the best. Trust me.

I’m mostly just showing you these pictures because I’m practicing with the photo editing software on my phone.  I do love looking at Pierre and doesn’t he look so nice with my aqua bowl?

I’m trying this new thing where I don’t eat the cookie dough.  This is obviously hard for me, but I wanted to see, for the first time in my entire life, what the cookies taste like if I haven’t already filled up on cookie dough while I was baking.

It was worth the wait.

I hope that my New England buddies are all enjoying this day to stay in.  Sometimes nature conspires with the universe in the perfect way and makes you slow down.  Stay warm!




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I signed up for a woodworking class that starts in February.   It is through the adult education program in my cute little city.  Eight weeks of learning how to build things!

I’m hoping to learn how to make furniture and get over my fear of power tools.  I am so excited. 

Do you want to know a secret?  I have always wanted to make chairs.  I dream about chairs.  When I come to your house, I look at your chairs, especially if you happen to have any Hitchcock chairs hanging around.  I’m a sucker for good construction.  My biggest hope/wish is that I finish the woodworking class with the ability to make my own chair(s) to go with my planned dining room makeover in 2012.   How cool would that be?


My parents have been kind enough to hold my Great Grandmother’s dining room table for me until I could bring it over to our home.  When my grandmother and my great-aunt Susan gave their mother’s table to me, I had to swear that it would always stay in the family (on the family bible, no less).  That’s a lot of pressure for a furniture junkie like me, which is why Justin and I waited until we were completely ready to have it move in with us!

This is what our dining room looks like now:

We have a bistro table set that has been great for the last few years, but has taken a beating with two dogs who were both chewy puppies.  This might sound weird too, but it  is hard when we have more guests than seats because the chairs are so tall.  You can’t really substitute anything else in, like a folding chair.  That’s always bothered me.  With a shorter table, that wouldn’t be an issue.


Obvious size differences in room aside, the table in the picture above is similar in color to my Great Grandmother’s table and I really like how it looks with the white chairs.  I would want to do something similar.  I’m not married to the idea of having all matching chairs, so I’ve kept an eye out on Craigslist.  So far, no luck though.  I’ve missed painting, too.  So it would be fun to get out a paint brush for either something I build or buy.

Justin and I both really like to eat week night dinners at the counter in the kitchen, so I’d love to get these gorgeous chairs from West Elm, too.  Just a pair.  They would tuck in nicely on either side of the floating shelves.


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To signify the end of a really challenging year for us, Justin and I debated wildly over where we could go to celebrate New Years.   We decided to take the Orient Point Ferry from New London, Connecticut over to Long Island.

We packed up the car with our two fuzzy friends, Piper and Neuman and some snacks!  They are both great in the car and did well with ferry ride (in full disclosure, we left Neum in the car with a bone and took Piper up into the passenger area).

If you are in Connecticut/NYC/NJ, you must go check out the Long Island wine trail.  We tried so many delicious wines and met a ton of really great people.  It was the perfect way to spend New Years Eve.  While we were celebrating the potential of a new year, we got some great news from our friends Jessica and Michael, who had just welcomed their beautiful baby daughter, Leah, into the world.  The day really couldn’t have been any better.

If you are an iPhone owner, I spent the day playing with my new lenses, from Photojojo (fish eye, telephoto and macro mostly). They attach right to the back of your phone with a magnetic ring.  $50 for three.  I’d say it is worth it.  Plus they give you a small plastic dinosaur.

We had a lot of fun going from vineyard to vineyard.  I love this shot of Justin.  This was at Lenz vineyard, which also had some of the best staff.  Great people.  What are you waiting for?  Just go!


Happy New Years!











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We are normally big New Years Resolution people.  Justin usually stiff arms me into doing something dramatic, like giving up pizza or burgers for an entire year.  He believes that a resolution should be significant, disciplined and a reminder of how lucky we are, by giving up something that we really enjoy.  It is kind of like doing Lent for an entire year.   I would imagine that we probably seem pretty smug in November.  “Look at those two, they gave up burgers/soda/fast food/pizza”….haha.  Even I’m sick of us.

This year we aren’t giving up any food items and instead focusing on our meals.  There is always room to cook more meals at home.  A few weeks ago, we purchased a share of a local, grass-fed cow.  It has been fun coming up with recipes and trying out new cuts of meat that we wouldn’t normally buy, with the added bonus of eating healthier meats.  We’re definitely going to do that again in 2012.

We don’t usually cook meals together, but tonight, while Justin was getting our dinner ready, I started cutting up the veggies for a crock pot meal that I’m going to cook tomorrow.

Nothing crazy, just some carrots, red potatoes, onions and a cut of beef (with a splash of whatever wine we have open in the house).   I’m still on the fence about whether to cook it tonight while we sleep or while I’m at work.  I’m a bit of a worrier, so if I use the crock pot while I’m at work, I set up my laptop webcam so I can watch it.  I’ve declared it the most boring web cam in history.  Piper the dog does occasionally make an appearance to sniff, so I can tell when it must be starting to smell good at the house.

Crockpot Cam

I threw everything into gallon sized plastic ziplock bags.  If we decided that we didn’t want to have a crock pot meal tomorrow, I could easily just freeze everything.

While I was cleaning up, Justin set the counter for our meal.  We try to use our china as much as possible.  We also put it in the dishwasher.  Why wait for a special occasion and baby it?

And of course, no new year meal would be complete without a delicious, fresh salad!





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