happy 4th of july!

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happy 4th of july, everyone!  we are having a wonderful day hanging out at home.  it’s been lazy and just what we needed as a family.  i got to sleep in and the boys have spent all day outside playing with their magic sand.  i got some tie dye kits from target on clearance and we just finished an epic tie dye session!  we are all so colorful (we don’t need no stinkin’ gloves!)  it looks like a bunch of hippies live here!

IMG_2246 IMG_2229 IMG_2235 IMG_2231 IMG_2243anyway, i hope you and your families have a fantastic weekend!  stay cool and Happy Birthday, America!

cheers,

e

 

merry christmas…

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merry christmas and happy holidays from everyone over here at the house of mayhem and chaos.  i hope your day is filled with joy and love and everything on your plates and in your glasses is absolutely delicious.  may you find peace, calm, serenity and love during this crazy-making time of year.

much love,

e

from the top: super buddies | the best damn bloody mary | jamie oliver’s comfort food – best. gift. ever. | mid-afternoon snack

around the house…

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things have been crazy around the house over the last six weeks and i have not been posting like i have wanted.  the holidays tend to stress me out as it is, but with everything going on, it’s been a bit more stressful than usual.  holiday decorating is not my favorite, but the boys love it and i do it anyway.  right now, it looks like christmas threw up in my house and i can not wait until january, when i can put it all back away in the garage and have a fresh, clean house!

from the top:

pFriem beers on our way to the fleetwood mac concert in portland before thanksgiving

red cross turkey trot on thanksgiving morning

first snow of the season

hand lettering my chalkboard door is about as into christmas as i like to get

realized this is the first time we’ve taken the boys to see santa!

making soft things for loved ones for christmas

contrary to common belief, elves are grown ups and enjoy a beer now and then (santa would never use child-elf labor!)

gingerbread a-frame

ballast point bloody mary and my favorite hopworks hoodie on tree decorating day (they don’t carry the one i’m wearing but this one is similar.)

jack jack the pirate king

i hope you are weathering the holidays.

cheers,

e

harvest and halloween…

halloween is over and i always feel a little sad when it’s done.  i leave our decorations up until almost thanksgiving, and the skulls stay out year round, but i’m a little sad that the spooky season is done for the year.

this year, the boys wanted to be a pumpkin and a skeleton, so i was thrilled that i could make their costumes.  this is the first year since their very first halloween that i made their costumes.  i got a black shirt and leggings from target for the skeleton and just painted some bones with white fabric paint.  the mask is a paper-mache skeleton face that i found at craft warehouse.  i painted it  white, used a sharpie to define the teeth and eye sockets and punched holes in the side for an elastic strap.

for the pumpkin, i got a large orange t-shirt and painted a jack-o-lantern face on the front.  i sewed some elastic to the bottom so we could stuff it with a pillow to make a fat pumpkin.  we layered a green shirt and some striped leggings underneath.  i used felt to make the pumpkin top hat and threaded a headband through the bottom.

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harry was “scary harry” the skeleton and jack was “jack-o-lantern” the pumpkin king.  he wouldn’t let me stuff his shirt because he wanted to be a skinny pumpkin like jack skellington.  the boys said that daddy needed to be a ghost, so we made a very traditional ghost costume for christopher.  we went to downtown kennewick and walked down “treat street” where all the businesses hand out candy.  we had to pit stop at home before trick-or-treating our neighborhood because the boys already had full buckets!  then, we stopped by our neighbor’s house for a little halloween gathering and had a wonderful time before i had to go to work.

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my costume was kind of chosen for me.  at work, the theme was that the men would be hunters and the ladies would be the animals.  i wasn’t too keen on that thought (but since this is not a post about the rampant sexism inherent in society, i’ll skip the diatribe) so i decided to go as a raven.  i couldn’t pull off a jungle cat costume in my 20’s, let alone my late 30’s, and i figured “gothic raven” was more my style anyway.  plus, i found these wicked-cool feather false eyelashes, so i was pretty happy with the way it turned out.

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we harvested the pumpkins from our garden and the boys went to a pumpkin patch on a field trip at preschool.  they love picking the pumpkins.  they drew faces on their pumpkins and christopher and i carved them into very happy jack-o-lanterns and we put them on the font porch to ward off the evil spirits.

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this has been a really fun halloween season.  i’m looking forward to thanksgiving.  i think we are going to host at our house this year and i just love the idea of having all our family here to share the meal.  christopher’s mom is living in washington now, and it will be the first thanksgiving, since we’ve been together, that she will be with us.  it’s time to get planning!

how was your halloween?  i would love to hear what you and the kids were dressed as!

cheers,

e

ipa pickled asparagus…

i love pickles.  it’s a problem and i’m admitting that.  i could eat them every day; at every meal.  and for snacks.  christopher once tried to impose a “pickle quota” which i politely laughed at as i crunched away.  i’m pretty specific in my pickle liking: dill only.  i can’t seem to get myself into sweet pickles.  i’ve tried, but i just can do it.  i love the dilly, garlicky, peppery crunch of a nice pickle.

i’ve recently started making my own and i’m pickling all sorts of things.  portlandia fans, you know what i mean, right?

anyway, here is what i pickled for our fourth of july bbq tomorrow: ipa pickled asparagus.

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yeah, you heard right india pale ale pickled asparagus. my motive was to have something yummy to munch on at the bbq but to also make something fun to garnish a bloody mary.  i love the idea of having a crunchy, beer-soaked asparagus spear in my bloody mary and  i plan on having marys in the morning, so hopefully there will be pickled asparagus left for the bbq!

oh, and if you want a kick-ass bloody mary recipe, the one i use is from cup of jo and it’s the “best bloody mary you’ll ever have.”  how can you not love that?!

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i adapted this recipe from the she likes beer blog.  here is my recipe.

2 bunches asparagus (aprx 2 lbs) trimmed to fit into quart mason jar

2 cups apple cider vinegar

24 oz beer – i used a “hop on or die”  doa ipa from day of the dead beer

8 cloves of garlic – smashed with the flat side of a knife

2 tbsp salt – i use kosher flaked salt

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

6-8 whole peppercorns

4 sprigs fresh dill

combine vinegar, salt and beer in a sauce pan.  heat to just boiling.  be careful because the salt and beer will make the mixture boil over really quickly.  while the beer/vinegar is heating up, divide garlic, spices and fresh dill between two quart jars.  add asparagus to jars.  once the mixture has boiled, put it into something you can pour from , like a pyrex measuring cup, or just pour the mixture into each jar from the sauce pan, leaving about 1/4 inch at the top.  screw on lids and rings and let cool.  once cooled, turn the jars over and shake up to move the spices around.

that’s it.  super easy and delicious. perfection.

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what will you be pickling this summer?

cheers,

e

a note on mother’s day…

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i am blessed to have very strong women in my life.  my mother is a kick-ass stay-at-home mom who ran the parts counter at my dad’s motorcycle shop and also runs her home like a boss and like it is her job (because it totally is) and i grew up next door to my paternal grandparents.  my grandma ruth owned her own drapery business with her sister in the 60’s and 70’s and decorated some of the most prominent homes in the phoenix area.  later, my maternal grandmother moved to phoenix from california, a few mile from our home, and worked at the local library and gardened like the master gardener she was.

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i grew up with these women surrounding me, teaching me to love, live, work and create using my strengths and taking no shit from anyone.  i learned that being a women meant being true to myself and my strengths.  that it was powerful to be a woman.  that there were men in the world that unapologetically respected strong women (thank you daddy, papa earl and my husband christopher) and that i could do anything i wanted.  i learned to bake, cook, sew, garden, hammer nails, use power tools, build anything i put my mind to, fix the house, and build my first car.  all while being captain of the cheer squad, vice president of the student council and salutatorian of the graduating class.

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i could never haver become what i am now if it were not for the example of these women in my life.  my sister is the most amazing mother and college professor.  my mom runs a tight ship at home, showering us with love and light,  and, together with daddy, made our life happy and comfortable. my grandma ruth kept papa earl in line – and that was a feat in itself (miss you so much papa.)  grandma jerry began a life on her own after the sudden death of papa john and made every minute count.  i learned the values of hard work, commitment and love.

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now, i have the example of my mother-in-law, carole (who was and is an amazing single mom) and christopher’s sisters who are all amazing mothers and women.  my nieces are all strong and confident young women.  my best friends, shane, chelle and felicia are amazing, mothers; working like none other to make their families happy and successful.  these are things i try to implement in my life and in how christopher and i raise our boys.  my hope as a mother is to raise my boys with a respect and reverence for the power of women. to treat women no differently than they would men.  to be respectful and kind to everyone, regardless of gender.

carole me and mom

i would not be where i am without the women in my life.  to you i give my thanks, love and heartfelt respect.  thank you from the bottom of my soul.

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love and cheers!

e

valentine’s potato stamp towels…

when i was a little girl, my mom would make potato stamps and let us decorate paper for book covers, wrapping, or just for fun.  i wanted to do potato stamps for the boys to try and i wanted to have them be able to craft some gifts for their grandparents.  this craft was a bit more labor intensive and took a bit longer, but not too hard for the littles to handle.

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for this craft you will need:

fabric paint – i used three colors of pink/red because i wanted an ombre look (found at michael’s)

potatoes

paring knife

flour sack towels or tea towels

small cookie cutter in the shape you want (optional)

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wash and dry your potatoes really well.  cut them in half and set the pieces you are not using cut side down on a paper towel to soak up any extra moisture.  take your cookie cutter and press it firmly into the center of the cut side of your potato  1/4-1/2 inch.  leave your cookie cutter in the potato.  take your paring knife and very carefully, cut the potato from around the outside of the cookie cutter, removing the excess so when you carefully remove the cookie cutter you have a raised stamp.

*if you don’t have a cookie cutter, you can take a sharpened pencil and trace your design onto the potato and use the tip of the paring knife to gently cut into the potato about 1/2 inch around the shape you traced, to make the outline of the stamp and then gently cut away the excess.  doing it this way takes a steadier hand and more time.

when your potato stamps are ready, spread a plastic tablecloth down on your table or some paper to keep your table safe.  squeeze some paint onto a paper plate and spread around to thin it a bit so the paint doesn’t squish about too much on the potato.  then, just have at it!

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lay them flat to dry for 4 hours and then you can wash and dry them after 72 hours.

harry didn’t like doing this project so much, but he is not a big fan of paint, so his stamping was minimal.  but jack jack really got into it and had a blast!  i love his abstract approach to stamp placement.  i also did one for myself and i had a lot of fun.  i did an ombre gradient towel and love how it looks.  here are the boys’ finished towels:

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this would be a fun housewarming gift and would work for any holiday too.  have fun and let me know what you think if you do this project!

xoxoxo,

e