Wednesday, April 23, 2014


hope you all had a very blessed Easter!
ours is below, in pictures :)

pre-church family pic!
everybody smiling AND looking at the camera.  
a first.
6 months pregnant with baby Gabe :)

our historic church has an annual Easter egg hunt in the cemetery (a bit morbid? ...but very picturesque!) after service.

Mike is a lay reader, hence the uniform...

after naps, we opened the Easter baskets!

this year's handmade eggs...a choo choo!
both boys are obsessed with trains right now...

kid knows where the good stuff is...
through the wrapper.

then our early dinner!

carrots with cayenne cream

buttered and herbed fingerling potatoes

rosemary roasted game hens

roasted Brussels sprouts

homemade focaccia

and a big, chocolate cake!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

need a fool proof Easter dessert? >>carrot cupcakes.

And oldie but goodie!
Carrot cupcakes never go outta style around Easter-time!
Have a blessed weekend!


Hello, my love.

Time for carrot cake....or carrot cupcakes!  And maple cream cheese frosting?  Yes, please.

I could stare at these things all day long.  And eat 'em all day too!
But let's get started!

Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Make 24 cupcakes and just enough frosting.  But I piled it on.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated peeled carrots (do this by takes awhile but it makes for fluffier cupcakes!)
2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups powdered sugar 

Preheat oven to 350*.
Line 24 cupcake tins with papers or butter and flour.
Peel and grate your carrots.  (Get your hubby to do it - I did!)

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl to blend.  In a large bowl, whisk sugar and oil.  Whisk in eggs, one at a time.

Add flour mixture and stir until blended.  Stir in carrots.  Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling almost to the top.  Bake cupcakes about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in pans for about 5 minutes them remove to cool completely before frosting them.
Meanwhile, cream the cream cheese, butter and syrup until fluffy.

Add powdered sugar and cream again.  Chill the frosting for 10-20 minutes until desired spreading consistency.

Spread with a butter knife or put in a ziplock, cut the tip, and pipe on big swirls.  Keep cupcakes in fridge.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

dc's chinatown!

last weekend, we spent a great early evening in dc's chinatown!
we were finishing off our Asia week in homeschooling and picked a hum-dinger of a weekend to go to dc.
"the" cherry blossom festival.
i.e. traffic for days, people shoulder to shoulder, etc etc
but, no matter!
we drove the 30 minute drive in 90 minutes, but luckily, our two wonderful travelers were napping the whole time!
we navigated around the cherry blossom crowd and found chinatown.
still a lot of people (...after all, cherry blossoms are a big deal in japan), but we found a parking spot, unloaded the boys into the stroller and set off!

the famous Friendship Arch

looking at all the new sights 

cherry blossoms over chinatown!

such a mix of old and new

peak blossoms!

pointing out architecture

enjoying steamed pork bahn mi, egg custards, and babi milk teas in a park

and pictures "under" the's famous to do so.
of course, when you only have two parents, all the family portraits are with one parent...

...or another :)

a beautiful day and an awesome time!

Friday, April 11, 2014

diy hairspray!

i'm working on making us completely chemical free.
this diy hairspray was the last of the chemicals in our bathroom!
i've got a few more "favorites" around the house but i'll be working on eliminating those asap ;)

and, yes, it works!
just a side note, if you have dark hair, use an orange instead of a lemon.
lemon juice are known to slightly lighten hair if you go out into the sun so, just to be safe, brunettes use an orange!

DIY Hairspray
Makes about a cup or so.
1 lemon or orange, cut into wedges
2 cups distilled water
3 tablespoons vodka or other clear grain alcohol
8-10 drops essential oil, or more to suit (optional, as it's just for "flavor")

Combine citrus wedges and water in a small saucepan and boil over medium high heat until reduced by half.
Strain through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.  If you've overboiled, add distilled water to equal one cup.
Add alcohol and essential oils and swirl to mix.  
Pour into desired container and enjoy!
Note: shake before using and if your sprayer gets plugged, use hot water to unclog.

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