Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Cake

This week we had a bake sale at work and this was one of my contributions! A red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Okay, so I used a box cake, but I added a secret ingredient (ok, I will tell you! 1 cup of sour cream in the mix!). But really, this cake is all about the gorgeous, summery decor! I totally stole this idea from Pinterest (of course), but I think it came out so lovely, don't you! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SLO Life Magazine


I took these photos of the garden about two weeks ago. Now the lettuce and snap peas are just about done but the tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons are just getting started! Pretty soon we will have so many cucumbers again we will have to start pickling again. That or lots of cucumber, mint mojitos! 

Romaine lettuce - my fave

Cucumbers and cantaloupe

The peaches are coming in nicely. Just like the color of a sunset. Hope we get to them before the birds do!
A new addition to the garden this year - snap peas!

Remember when these snap peas looked like this?

The radishes are ready! (Rad-i?)

Holy Popeye! I put the camera lens on the spinach leaf so you can see how big it is. So big, I squealed every time I went out to the garden. Almost mutant looking.

We had one tiny little strawberry about the size of a marble. But, Steve had to pick it because apparently the first year of growing strawberries, you are supposed to pick off any new fruits so that the plant's energy goes into making healthier plant leaves rather than fruit. Then, next year we will have a full crop! I cannot wait because even that little marble berry was like sweet sugary heaven!

 Yesterday I found two green Early Girl tomatoes! They are definitely living up to their name because last year we didn't get one tomato until October!!!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Oh, hello June!

I can't believe it is already June. We are officially half way into this Happiness Project! Catching up on May's goals:

Throw a dinner party
Well, I did have two gatherings at our place in May. The first was more of a dinner than a party. We invited Steve's intern and his girlfriend over for dinner before they embark on their new journey to Berkeley this month. I made tri-tip, a home-grown salad, barbequed pineapple and shrimp kabobs, and a peach toffee crisp for dessert. 

Also, in May I had a Bachelorette season premiere viewing party which was more of a party than dinner. We snacked on nuts, crackers, brie, and dried apricots, and making its debut, Butterfinger Cheesecake, for dessert. And of course some champagne. :) My pick for Emily? Arie or Sean!

Go Somewhere New in SLO County
Thanks to my Leadership class, I was able to visit a new place during the month of May that was absolutely fabulous! Dancing Deer Farm in Templeton.

Dancing Deer is a place you can go to get away from it all. It is a really cool spot for a family vacation or a group retreat, but the farm was designed to reunite troubled families, provide a space for other nonprofits who provide support and education to individuals and groups seeking rehabilitation. Dancing Deer is a place where nature provides all of the comfort and peace that you need. There is a gorgeous house overlooking the valley that has 11 bedrooms with 25 beds! The farm also boasts a lovely garden, chickens, vineyard, orchard, and more. Most of the space is maintained by volunteers who want to reconnect with mother earth. Anyway, it was a really fascinating, breathtaking place and I encourage anyone to check it out if they are in the area.

Have a picnic date
Check! Lopez Lake picnic date.

Go to a music festival (or at least plan to go to one)
This is where I struggled a little bit. Of the events I actually want to see, they did not work with my schedule or they were too far away. Boo! I have decided, however, that during my New York trip this October, I will be seeing Once, the musical on Broadway, so I guess that counts! I wish the Mid State Fair had better acts this year!

Now, nine days into June and I'm already on track with my June goals!

June - Friends and Family
  • Remember birthdays
  • Be generous
  • Show up
  • Don't gossip
  • Make new friends
  • Stay in touch
  • Family first
And some Secrets of Adulthood to remember this month:
  • What's fun for other people may not be fun for you - and vice versa
  • People actually prefer that you buy gifts off their wedding registry
  • Mom is always right
  • Be nice to EVERYONE
  • The days are long but the years are short

Friday, June 08, 2012


Some before and after shots of our amazing palm trees that we planted within months of moving in. Our nursery neighbor told us that the 3rd year would be the most incredible change in size. Boy, was he right! These pictures were all taken during the second year of growth - April 2011 and the third year, April 2012.


2012 - BOOM!

2011 - the palm on the left actually died and we had to replace it shortly after this was taken. 

2012 - see the tiny little replacement tree? And WOW, what a huge difference a year makes! 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A plum with a bum

Our plum tree is packed with these little babies. But, this little plummy in particular made me laugh. A tiny plum bum! 

Monday, June 04, 2012

Homemade Snickers Bars

Just for fun, I decided to try a new sweet treat that I came across on Pinterest. Homemade snickers bars.  They were incredible and tasted almost exactly like the real thing!! This recipe makes an entire tray of snickers bars so of course, I brought them into work and they were gone instantly. 

Recipe from How Sweet It Is found from Pinterest.

Makes one 9 x 13 pan

Bottom Chocolate Layer:
  • 1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
Thoroughly grease your baking pan. Melt ingredients together in a saucepan and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.

Nougat Layer:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff (YES!!!)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cup salted peanuts chopped, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in sugar and milk, stirring until dissolved and bring to a boil. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in fluff, peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Turn off heat and fold in peanuts, then pour over bottom layer of chocolate. Let cool completely.

Caramel Layer:
  • 1 14 oz bag of caramels
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
Combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Let melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 10 minutes. Pour over nougat layer and let cool completely.

Top Chocolate Layer:
  • 1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
Melt ingredients together in a saucepan, then pour over caramel and spread  until even. Let cool and harden completely.

Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving, then cut as desired. These can stay at room temperature, but they do get gooey. Refrigerated is best!

For best results, use one of the aluminum cake pans at the grocery store that way you can pop out the entire rectangle and cut.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Wedded Bliss

Saturday was a gorgeous day for a wedding. Steve looked as handsome as ever in a full tuxedo - the first time he has ever worn one! I loved Josh and Rachel's sweet and elegant wedding. The audience was in tears as they shared their hand-written vows to each other. Rachel promised to encourage Josh's golf game and Josh vowed to make her laugh every day. Bless their hearts! Josh's home-brew flowed and the dance floor got a little wild as we celebrated two very special people. I love wedding season as it reminds Steve and I how lucky we are to be married and so much in love. 

Friday, June 01, 2012

Memorial Day Memories

The family gathered over memorial day weekend in Lake Havasu, Arizona to celebrate my grandpa's 80th birthday and my cousin Melissa's graduation from high school. I haven't been to Lake Havasu in years so it was good to be back and remember all of the fun times I had there as a child. 

We rented a house for the weekend and it was the perfect location for relaxing, cooking, and having a party! There was a jacuzzi, pool, outdoor kitchen area and a shaded patio for those hot afternoons. The gourmet kitchen suited us well for making food all weekend long instead of having to go out to eat. There was a pool table, bar, and everything else you need to have a good time. 

I really enjoy being with my family and lucky to get to share such fun times together making new memories. This is what life is meant for - to celebrate each other's milestones, accomplishments, and dreams coming true. Love you all!

My aunt Cathy and Mom, cousins Charisma, Melissa, and Serene

 All of the cousins! Charisma, Heather, Melissa, Serene, me, Steve, Michael, and Philip! Missing Ryan!

Phil, Philip, Mom, Heather, and Michael 

 80th birthday cupcakes with customized printing on the candies!

 My grandpa's friend Pepe and Mom

 Beautiful view of the Arizona skyline

 Phil and Brian being crazy with my fruit kabobs!

 Michael and sweet Serene

 The birthday boy!

 Grandpa having fun

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