Talking about the weather…

January 27, 2011

So what the heck happened yesterday?!! I know, I know. It was snow. Being on the edge of the south around here, we tend to freak-out when it snows. However, you’d think we’d be a bit more seasoned after last years series of ¬†“snowpocalypses”. Not to mention, we’ve had a few little snows already this year, to get us in gear for a bigger snow event.

Squirrel Toes

Squirrel Toes

Icy flower bud

However, I don’t think anything could of prepared us for the chaos of last night! It was so bad, and people were so traumatized that no one has even coined a cute snowmageddon-like name for this snow storm. Its not like the weather forecasters weren’t telling us it was coming-well….they started mentioning on tuesday evening that wednesday could see be a bit more snow than they had previously thought. I guess we were all skeptical. Around 3 p.m. when the rain changed over to sleet, quickly followed by HEAVY snow, wind and believe it or not, thunder and lightening, it was already too late for many commuters. Luckily Jay works from home and I was working all of 3 minutes away from our house yesterday. We were completely unscathed. However, I’ve heard HORROR stories from others. Like my friend John who left work at Georgetown at 5 pm only to find he had travelled all of 2 blocks and hour later. In desperation, he ditched his car a proceeded to walk home for the next hour and 40 minutes. He didn’t even feel so bad about his personal experience when he heard that his coworker who had left town 1 hour prior to his departure-4 pm- did not arrive at her Springfield home- a mere 13 miles away- until 5 a.m. thursday morning. Really?!! A 13 hour commute?!!! Complete nightmare! At first, Jay, Gimlet and I were blissfully unaware of the chaos unfolding around us. Sure the snow was heavy, but quite pretty and the lightening and thunder bizarre, but also exciting. We were having fun running around outside.

Gimlet runs circles around

That is til the heavy wet snow started bringing down trees and branches all around us. A horrible sound to hear. Then we noticed that the lightening was accompanied by the flashes given off by electric wires coming down and transformers blowing.  While we were standing there a rather large branch from one of our trees crashed down onto the road next to our house, blocking it so that only one car can squeeze by.

Offending Branch

Thats when we took a look at the local news and saw what an absolute mess it was out there-traffic nightmares, power outages etc. Amazing how we take all those little things like passable roadways and electricity for granted. Bit of a wake-up call.

Gimlet Reflections

Happy New Year!….Better late than never…….

January 23, 2011

Bah-Humbug! Is it over yet?

Wow! Here we are post-Thanksgiving, post-Christmas, post- St. Stephen’s Day, post -Farl Week (more on this later) and post- New Year and not even one “post” from me since Halloween. Where does the time go? So quite a bit has happened since I last bothered to blog. Christmas as usual was a whirlwind. We were busy with events leading right up to Christmas Day on which Jay and I hosted both sets of parents for dinner. This year we did a bacon wrapped beef tenderloin roast with horseradish sauce, potato and leek gratin, garden greens with champagne vinagrette and yorkshire puddings, topped off by Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes with a side of vanilla ice cream.

Bacon Wrapped Terderloin with Roasted Mushrooms

Yorkshire Puddings

Dinner is served!

Molten Chocolate Cakes about to be plated & paired with ice cream

For whatever reason, this meal was significantly less stessful to prepare than those in the past. Perhaps I’m just getting more experienced in dealing with all of the small kitchen disasters one can be faced with when preparing for a dinner party. All in all, very enjoyable. The following day, St. Stephen’s Day, our parents returned for brunch. My brother Russ, sister-in-law Jen and their kids Riley and Jason stopped by as well. We had plenty to eat: two tarts-a ham and a bacon, scones-chocolate chip and currant, strawberries and cream, bacon cheddar biscuits, almond coffee cake, sliced ham with buttermilk mini biscuits, etc.

Brunch Table

Riley makes a selection

Kids really make Christmas, so there was big excitement for all involved. After spying some squirrels outside who were enjoying their St. Stephen’s Day peanuts, Riley and Jason were ready to get down to opening some prezzies.

On Squirrel Patrol

Riley really loved a princess castle that her Pop-pop and Granny gave her. was Riley who loved her castle right? My what big boots you have Riley!

Strawberries and Cream in a castle

Jason gets some help with a prezzie

He gets into the swing of things

Everyone joins in the fun

Perhaps some had a little too much fun...

Quite fittingly, we discovered that there is an actual Ridgeway Brewery in Oxfordshire England. We purchased a few bottles of their Christmas Ales. Splendid. Hope to visit it in person some day.

Ridgeway Ale

Overall, a very merry Christmas! Want to see more pics? Please click on Christmas/St. Stephan’s Day photos to view our entire gallery.

Later in the day, we had a few friends stop by as well for a very “chill” St. Stephen’s Day wind down. One particular highlight of the evening was that Peter, Jenn and Guiliane stopped by with the newest addition to their family-Eliana Camille-only 17 days old!

Eliana Camille Alcantara

How is that for adorable huh? Jenn is the photographer here. As you can see, she is awesome. Her business website, JLAphotos, is currently undergoing an upgrade, but make sure you check back soon. For those of you who can’t wait for a further peek at her gorgeous photography, take a look at her personal blog. She has many fantastic shots posted there. I particularly love the way she is able to really capture the personality of the children she photographs by having them just be themselves. There are few stiff, posed photos. That being said, she does do some awesome portrait type photography as well. Take a look at her work here on Fishnets and Photos. These HOT photos pay homage to the pin-up girls of yesterdays. Great for bachelorette parties or maybe a memorable Valentine’s gift for that special someone.

Jay and I both received some awesome prezzies as well. Too many, I’m ashamed to say, to mention here. However, I thought I would take the opportunity to show off a couple. Jay purchased these two fellows for me from a place called Motley Mutton.

Pajo Sheep

Tarquinn Squirrel

They are needle felted wool creations. Needle felting, for those who are not familiar with the process, is basically sculpting a form with wool. First you roll or bunch carded wool into a shape and then poke the wool with a barbed needle. This action causes the wool to become tangled and intertwined. The more the shape is stabbed, the tighter the twined wool. What Motley Mutton achieves with this process is amazing! Definitely take a look at this etsy store, her stuff is just adorable! I’m hoping to learn how to do this….I’ll keep you posted.

Speaking of prezzies, Gimlet was very happy with this giant, peanut butter rawhide bone.

Lucky Dog!

Jay is really pleased with his new EBOW. What is an EBOW you may ask. It is a piece of musical equipment which makes his guitar sound a bit more like a violin. Take a listen here:

With all of the Christmas festivities done, Jay and I looked forward to Farl Week. Farl Week, for those who don’t know, is the week following Christmas. During that week, for every single breakfast I prepare potato farls from our Christmas Dinner leftover mashed potatoes. You may have noticed that our Christmas Dinner this year did not include mashed potatoes. Not to be cheated out of Farl Week, I made up a batch on Christmas Eve and stuck them right in the fridge so they’d be ready on December 27th! A potato farl is basically a potato pancake, fried in butter or bacon drippings….YUM! I first became a fan when I had them in Ireland. There you can just buy them pre-made from the store. Those farls are basically shaped like a slice of bread, which is nice because you can put eggs and bacon on top of it and fold it over for a little breakfast sandwich. I cut mine out with a biscuit cutter and add a little shredded cheddar cheese to the mix. The recipe is easy: 1 Cup leftover mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup flour, salt and pepper to taste, cheddar cheese (or any other cheese you prefer) if you would like. Mix it all up, roll it out, cut into biscuit shapes, or I have even fried the entire farl round and cut it into wedges when it was done. I think I prefer the biscuit shapes though because they are a bit more crispy.

Rolling out the farl dough

Biscuit shaped farls

Frying 'em up!

Awesome Farlicious Breakfast

There were many awesome treats to be had over the whole holiday season and I assure you my waistline is happy that Farl Week only lasts one week. Farl Month would be a nightmare….a delicious nightmare…but…We’ve definitely tried to get back into the working out/ watching what we eat daily routine. However, I have recently come across some fantastic recipes and I’m sure we’ll have to take a break from the diet drudgery to try them out. Check back soon (Promise I will be better about the posting frequency…..)

Gimlet scarfs a snack

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