Thursday, November 29, 2012

o christmas tree

 It's that time of year again...where has 2012 gone?!  Last night, R and I decided to go get our tree.  I wanted to wait until at least December 1st (makes it feel more official to me).  However, its forecasted to rain all this week and the weekend, so we took advantage of the clear night.

Decorating the tree is one of my absolute favorite things about preparing for this season.  I put on Christmas music, drink eggnog and go about meticulously placing all of our ornaments.  Since moving out to California, I have also made sure to have a live tree every year!  I love picking out the perfect tree for us and the smell of pine filling our house!

I also have a small obsession with ornaments!  I have been collecting them since college, and each year take so much joy picking out the perfect ornament.  It has saved me from buying all the ornaments at one time, and I love seeing a tree full of ornaments that I hand-picked or were gifted to me.  A tree full of love!

I have not picked out my ornament this year, but decided to put together a collection of ones that I have found online that I'm currently loving right now.  I know there is a very apparent theme, and my tree is very much proof of that!  But, how perfect is the hummingbird!  In case you are looking for some inspiration for your decorating, or want to add some unique pieces this year, here are some real fun ones!  A lobster that is bound to be a great conversation piece, a small tribute to London and the Olympics or some beautiful glass balls all would make great additions to the season!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

apple-picking


A few weeks ago, R and I had a weekend getaway in Tahoe.  On our way home, we decided to head over to Apple Hill area to a u-pick apple farm.  It really was a beautiful fall afternoon; warm and sunny (the perfect opportunity to fulfill one of my goals).  I  have actually never been a big apple fan.  I guess maybe it was too many Red Delicious growing up, but I have never acquired much of a liking to them.  However, I was very curious about apple picking.  R and I have been to a couple other fruit picking farms, and I loved the idea picking apples in the fall.  California is amazingly diverse in produce, and I love any opportunity to learn more about different agriculture.

We stopped at Bolster Hilltop Ranch, but there were many to choose from just an hour west of Tahoe.  The woman at the counter pointed us in the direction of the orchards and handed us 3 plastic bags and a long stick with basket on the end (proper tool name-not sure?).  All I know is it was twice the height of me!  For the most part though, the apples we chose were hanging on lower branches and on shorter trees.  One of the amazing things about these apple farms is also the variety of the kinds of apples.  We came home with 23 pounds of golden delicious, braeburn, fuji and arkansas blacks.




Me with the apple picker and a couple of apples that I managed to get down without dropping.
The loot.


What to do with 23 pounds of apples is another story...  We stored them in the coolest place in our apartment for a week or so, until we had the time to make applesauce.  This is something that R has been looking forward to for a long time.  However, it required us to get a kitchen aid mixer (well, that was on the list to get eventually anyways) and a food grinder.

We followed a recipe in this book, which is an excellent source for all things preserving!  After all the chopping, it was actually relatively simple.  Just cook apples until soft, put through the food grinder (which was really a lot of fun), add a tad bit of sugar...and applesauce is made.  Finally, R canned it to keep for later use.

I also was able to make 2 dozen cinnamon-apple muffins and a pitcher of fresh apple juice.  I may have found a new appreciation for apples.

Using our brand new kitchen aid mixer!  so exciting!

The results of the picked apples!
Top-apple-cinnamon applesauce, middle-R using our juicer for fresh apple juice and bottom-2 dozen muffins

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Photo: mine--Big Sur, CA
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  R, Moz and I are about to leave for our nearly-annual Thanksgiving backpacking trip in Big Sur.  This year, so many amazing things have happened and I have a lot to be thankful for!

I am most thankful this year for the amazing people in my life.  For my wonderful family back in Kansas (new and old)  and to incredible friends who have welcomed R & I into their lives!  I am truly blessed to have them as my support group.  Although, R & I are not eating turkey, or mashed potatoes, or having a meal at all resembling Thanksgiving food (we had Jamba Juice and McDonalds...), we are thinking of everyone during this day and the impact you have had on our lives.

Have an amazing Thanksgiving weekend!




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