Back to School

School is back in session my friends - yes it's true. Back to early alarm wake-up calls, budding readers, and I can't believe I'm saying it - a welcome routine. Wish me luck on my first day back in the classroom teaching after a restful and relaxing summer.

Giant Bubbles

I thought on the first day of school, it was appropriate to provide you with a clip to inspire awe and child-like wonder. Enjoy these giant bubbles, I know I'm amazed!n" via/marvelous kiddo

Snapshots of Hiroshima

A-Bomb Dome (The bomb exploded directly above this building. It was the only structure left standing in a 3-mile radius after the blast)
Paper cranes are a symbol of peace and can be found throughout the city.
Peace Memorial Park (overlooking the A-Bomb Dome)

Happy Friday

This is the last weekend of summer vacation...School starts bright and early Monday morning. How did it fly by so fast? Spending today tying up loose ends, making sure kids names are on their cubbies, mailboxes, folders, etc. and then enjoying the weekend with my boyfriend and our families. Have a good one!


The Birds Go Marching 2 by 2...Hurrah! Hurrah!

Bringing back the juice box! If this is a way to get kids (or adults) to drink more juice, I'm jumping on the bandwagon. I would totally make my juice boxes march in a line...just for fun.

Weekend Visit

My boyfriend's parents are visiting this weekend from Michigan! They arrive tonight around 9 and will be staying through Sunday evening. My boyfriend is pleased as punch as his parents busy schedules do not often allow them time off to head out West.

Not exactly sure what's on the agenda yet, I'm assuming some touristy things, although they've seen the quintessential Seattle sights. We may for fun Ride the Duck - a land-to-water tour of Seattle. While I'm usually great at planning, but I think with back to school starting next week my brain's in a mental freeze. Any ideas of unusual places to visit for an out-of-towner?

App Happy

Hello all - did I ever tell you I did end up converting to the iphone? I can't remember...but yes, after my return from Japan I purchased an iphone 4 and left the world of blackberries to joint he ranks of the iphoners. I'm still getting used to how everything works.

As of now, I'm dazzled by the apps, (however, I've been told this will fade as the novelty of the phone wears off). But I have to admit, as much as I love the apps, I miss the blackberry as a "phone." I think it comes down to the fact that the blackberry was just more comfortable as a talking device.

For any iphone users out there - any insight to any MUST-HAVE apps I must investigate and potentially download?

Wednesday Pretty

I Peonies!

Animal Doormat

Aren't these clever? Animal doormats! Definitely a way to make you smile every time you come home, and a way to make wiping your feet fun for kids. I can just imagine a mom calling out "don't forget to give the hippo a shuffle honey!..." If the price were right, I would totally get this for my classroom!


Dinner Last Night: Roasted Potatoes with Mushrooms & Taleggio Cheese

Dinner last night was Roasted Potatoes with Mushrooms and Melted Taleggio Cheese. After starting the cooking process I realized this dish is probably meant as a side, but having little else in my fridge - if was our entree!

This was my first time working with Taleggio cheese. A little harder to find (but found it at PCC, a natural market), this Italian cheese has a consistency similar to brie, and melts really well. Overall, I was very pleased with the turnout of the meal. The flavors were big and bold, and cheese really complimented the crisp potatoes and woodsy mushrooms. Definitely a dish I would bring as an elegant side to a dinner party.

Apple Pie Lesson

I realized I forgot to blog about fulfilling one of my summer goals - learning how to make a pie from the master (my grandma). My Nonie is renown for pie baking in my family. While apple is her speciality, she's a whiz at them all: lemon meringue, blackberry, marionberry, strawberry rhubarb, shall I go on?

Nonie has taught my mom, her mom (my great-grandma), and my oldest cousin Jenny. So it was only a matter of time before I became the student. We decided on apple, because according to Nonie, that is the easiest. We made the crust, peeling and sliced all the apples, seasoned with cinnamon and sugar, and baked the masterpiece together into a lovely dessert. It was delicious (I only wish I had a taken a picture to display my hard work).

Thanks Nonie, can't wait to bake another!

Happy Friday

I can't believe this is the second to last weekend of summer. School starts in a week and a half, and it has definitely snuck on me.

This weekend I'm finally seeing Eat Pray Love with my sister, and then indulging in the great theatricality of Lady Gaga on Saturday! My friend Ashley and I bought last minute tickets, and we are very excited to become Little Monsters!

Any big plans?

Nouveau Frosting

Love this new spin on frosted cupcakes, skip the frosting and instead opt for melted marshmallows! Pop a marshmallow atop each cupcake with 3-minutes left to bake, and the melted mallow leaves a light fluffy (and well spread) layer of frosting. Perhaps the perfect camping dessert??...

Snapshots of Kyoto

Some more snapshots from my trip. Here are a few from our visit to Kyoto.
A Geisha we spotted in Gion
At the Fushiri-Inari Shrine (the fox is the sacred animal/emblem of this shrine)

Canadian Rockies Wedding

I love this wedding! Can one of my friends please get married in the Canadian wilderness? The serene azure blue of the lake, the whimsical shot of the playful bride and her bridesmaids, homemade honey as a party favor, and his and her wellies. It just doesn't get any cuter than that!

Wednesday Pretty

Love it!

Dinner Last Night: Twice-Baked Potatoes with Greek Yogurt

I love anything dish that includes potatoes. Seriously. They might just be my favorite food. Can you tell I'm Irish? One of my fave ways to cook potatoes is the ever-flavorful and ever-fattening, Twice Baked Potatoes.

I recently found a Martha Stewart recipe that solves this problem, Twice-Baked Potatoes with Greek Yogurt. While it's not quite fat-free, it's definitely more low-fat, substituting Greek yogurt in for sour cream. Cooking note: this recipe recommends baking the potato mixture in ramekins, however I happen to have a total of zero ramekins in my pantry, so I just refilled the potato skins with the filling and they turned out just fine. Bottoms up!

Yard at Work

My boyfriend and I have been hard at work trying to make sense of our yard. Upon purchasing the house, I inherited a few lovely pre-existing trees/shrubs; a large camellia tree, several lilac bushes, and a handful of wild rose bushes. Nice, right?

So when it came time to add some bounty to the yard, I thought I had a decent flower knowledge upon entering the nursery....WRONG! My knowledge was paltry, as I realized I could barely identify half the herbs... In a nutshell, my first time to the plant store was very overwhelming. I slowly pushed my cart through the endless rows of sun plants, shade plants, perennials, etc. Even with a salesperson helping me, it was a lot of information to absorb in one fell swoop.

Finally, after frantically calling my boyfriend and having him google the plants I liked while at work, I selected a few that fit the profile to survive a Seattle fall and winter. So, to our yard we recently added the following: some green grassy plants, a daphne, and a few Pieris fire and ice plants. I admit, I've never had an especially green thumb but they're looking good so far...

Scratch Map

I want this! Record your travels by scratching off all the places you've been (or want to go) with a penny. Sweet!

via cup of jo

Rafting Trip

A picture to sum up the weekend of white water rafting and wine tasting. In a nutshell;
good friends + hot sun + cold water + delicious wine = a great time!

Fro Yo

In Japan, my friend and I sampled the local frozen yogurt, which was sublime. And if you ever venture to Japan yourself, know this: don't count on seeing regular flavor choices vanilla or chocolate...

In Kyoto we tried the green tea frozen yogurt - which was better than any US version I've ever tasted. And in Takayama, we sampled the peach and sake frozen yogurt! Yes, you heard me right, sake froyo! Sounds odd I know, but it was quite good!

What's your favorite frozen yogurt flavor?

Gone Camping

Have a great weekend my dears! I'm going camping this weekend with to celebrate the birthdays of two good friends. We've got white water rafting and wine tasting on the agenda, and it's supposed to get up into the 90's - recipe for an excellent weekend! Hope you're also enjoying one of the final weekends of summer before back to school...

Farmer Cheese

Has anyone ever tried farmer cheese? In my most recent Martha Stewart Living there was a whole article on the brilliance of Farmer Cheese - apparently it's a lowfat cow's milk cheese with "a serious range." The ever-versatile Martha served it with avocado salad, layered in a zucchini lasagna, and as an accompaniment to grilled peaches. As a cheese enthusiast, I'm very curious to try this out!

Wednesday Pretty

Isn't this cake just adorable? I love how the little (marzipan?) balloon floats above the little figure. Love it!

Eat, Pray, Love...TRAVEL

Julia Roberts is Elle's September Cover Girl to promote her new movie, Eat Pray Love. I am so excited for this movie! But I think I'm most excited because I am literally in awe of this story's inspiring adventure of self discovery.

One of the things I love most about traveling is how it helps you expand your horizons and realize how diverse our world is. Traveling is a blessing in so many ways because it opens your eyes to so many different traditions, cultures, and ways of life. I feel that sometimes, we get so caught up in our daily routines, timelines, and in the here and now, that we forget how many amazing places and people there are in the world.

I've always loved traveling to new places, and after my trip to Japan, I feel even more compelled to travel anywhere and everywhere! So out of curiosity I ask, (money aside), what's the next big destination you're dreaming about?


Japan: Takayama

cemetery/burial ground nestled in the trees
picked everything for sale at the Jinya-mae morning market
river through Takayama

Spring Hill

My boyfriend and I ventured into the warmth of West Seattle for our date night. West Seattle is viaduct away from "downtown," but an eclectic borough of Seattle that boasts friendly locals, fantastic pastries, and a smattering of up and coming restaurants including Spring Hill.

According to yelp, Spring Hill is known for their MEAT. And though my boy and I opted for fish (delicious halibut and rainbow trout), I can attest to this claim, as I pondered order the sublime burger topped with Flagship Beecher's Cheese and beef fat fries...heaven. All in all - a great dinner!

Weekend Baking: Apricot and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

This weekend I felt inspired to bake cookies, I'm usually more compelled to invest my cooking time into savory recipes, but this sweet one caught my eye - Fresh Apricot and White Chocolate Chip cookies. They turned out delicious, the batter was light and fluffy and the apricots added a zing of tartness that was an ideal compliment to the sweet white chocolate. YUM!

Date Night!

Happy weekend my dears, hope you have a relaxing weekend. I'm off to a romantic dinner with my bf tonight and then it's Seattle Seafair this weekend. Lots of local festivities and the Blue Angels are in town! Hoping the grey skies turn blue in time for their flight tomorrow afternoon.