Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tornado warnings for Christmas!

Christmas day the Schlo-Hards surrounded ourselves with food and family. The perfect day in my mind!

Blackberry lemon poppy seed scones, clotted cream, Three Peckered Billygoat espresso from Ravens Brew, cookie cups with cream topping... spending Christmas morning with the love of my life. Success. Tasty winning.

Beautiful platter from Italy via our dear friend Allegra

Cookie cups ready for topping

Day Baking and Grandma Harding's Pie
Never before have I attempted to make a chocolate meringue pie! With the helpful advice of my sister-in-law and the handy hands of John Darling we accomplished a great feat. 
A tornado warning occurred in the middle of our baking. I am going to assume that it was the quick change of barometric pressure made the meringue deflate from a towering four-five inches down to one inch! Next time I will try a few little tricks- open the oven while browning it, check the weather before baking, start making the chocolate way before whisking the eggs... it is the little things. 
I think it turned out beautifully. And tasty.

Grandma Harding's Chocolate Meringue Pie

Pecan Pie, Joy of Cooking

Pretty peaks :)
Another first- making stuffing/dressing from scratch. 
I consulted with KSchlo and she gave me a rough outline of the ingredients. I dug out my big le Creuset (thank you Foots!) and dove right in.
Big bread chunks, bread crumbs, chicken stock, celery, mushrooms, onions, garlic, thyme, sage, sausage, white pepper. That is all. Stir, bake, eat. Delicious. 
John Darling and Rocco deep fried a turkey! YAY!

It was very windy. Tornado warning, remember?

We closed the day by playing a favorite in our house- Scrabble. 
Filled with love, we reflected on yet another wonderful Christmas spent together. 
Four years and counting :)

All in all, it was a great day. 
Joy and love,

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gourmet of the Month- Woot!

My dearest friend Maple & Me over at has inspired me to share the delight that can come with opening ones mailbox. Check her out. She is a gift to this world.

When John Darling proposed we were at Salmonstock 2012 in Ninilchik AK with lots of wonderful friends. Specifically we were there with our fantastic friends Cody and Hayley. John proposed, we all celebrated, the they took us in for a few more days to their home in Homer AK. They took us out on the boat to catch halibut... and ended up splurging on an engagement dinner like no other.
We went to Halibut Cove to an exclusive little restaurant that clung to a rock, on stilts above the salty water. Pelicans, suspended boardwalks, artisans, and tasty local gourmet noms. It was one of the most wonderful evenings shared with delightful people.

As a wedding gift they enrolled us in a continuing tasty treat- Gourmet of the Month Club!!!!
Each month sends us two-three seasonal (usually organic) goodies with a theme.

I use each months items and think about the generosity of our friends and the connection that we have in many things including the love of good food.

September- dried asian pears, fig balsamic, golden honey
October- pumpkin spread, squash seed oil, toasted seeds
November- white truffle oil, black truffle sea salt
December- english breakfast tea, scone mix, clotted cream, strawberry preserves (all from Mother-England!)

Christmas morning will be the first that I will be waking up in my own home (since I was 9) with my husband (ever). I think I will make an international breakfast! French crepes, english scones with clotted cream... any other suggestions for international fare? What other country should I add to the Brit/French breakfast lineup? 

music: Sinatra, Ella, She&Him

xo Love & Light

Friday, December 21, 2012

To the Moon, John! To the Moon!

Happy Solstice! 
What a wonderful day to ponder the enormity of a harmonious systematic universe.

Anyone who knew me as a child may remember that from the time I was five years old until middle school I wanted to be an Astronomer... I wanted to look up into the sky and ponder the big questions...
'What IS that little light over there?? And that one?? Have all of the craters in the moon been named? I could do that job... I could name stars! WHAT DO YOU MEEEAN SPACE CAMP?!?! YES!!'

I finally realized that astronomy involved heavy mathematical skills. I got over that career objective really fast.

I may not have followed that particular dream, but I am still deeply thrilled excited by all things cosmos and the history of space exploration. Today was one giant leap for my inner child. John Darling took me to the Johnson Space Center, commonly referred to as "Houston, we have a problem."

After exploring space we headed south to Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico for sunset. 
Along with some BBQ, we had the perfect day together.

                                                 Mission Control!


 A space suit in the testing area


  Historic spacesuit                                                                               

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, first mission to land on the Moon

Two man space capsule

This is the sound stage where they filmed the moon landing...

Where they keep the moon during the day

Original Dalek design??! 
Or burners from space shuttles


This is what the future of NASA looks like-
the newest design for 
the Mars Rover Orion mission (above) 
including robot companion (below) 
...the robot is the one on the left.


Gulf of Mexico

Pleasure Pier

Pleasure Pier Boardwalk

It was a very good solstice.

Love and MORE light,

ps. The photos are published a little wonky. Deal with it :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012


This is the first year that I will not be traveling over Christmas time. In like forever. Or at least since I was 10. People decorate their houses for SolstiFestiChristmaKwanziHanuHolidays and I for one am not going to let this opportunity pass me by.
I found the small 16" fake tree we got at a dollar store last year and the little round ornaments that adorn the plastic branches. Game on.

Cannot afford to buy garland? Pish. 
Will not tolerate a real tree? Posh. 
Have way too much arts/crafts crap in way too many boxes piled up in the house? PERFECT!
Here is a good idea- DON'T unpack, just rip into those boxes and pull out only the things needed to wrap the house in Holiday Cheer!

So it began with just a few craft ornaments, maybe three or four... but it quickly progressed into eight, nine... it wouldn't stop. The soreness of my hands from cutting stacks of deco paper into small strips would not deter me, oh no, from making more rounded nautilus shaped hanging baubles. Feathers, glue, beads, oh MY! WhatWHAT?? You think that's ENOUGH? That our house has become a bauble debacle?? No no NO say I! It has become Festive, Colorful, Spirited even!
Make snowflakes from white paper like we did back-in-the-day!
Curl construction paper into awesome things and tape them to the wall! YES!

So maybe I went a little over board.
16 of these little round suckers ended up being taped to the wall. My hands want to make more. MORE! (Bwahahahahaa)

Maybe I will get to unpacking (and re-packing) instead...

Happy Festivus everyone.
Please be kind to each other.
Hug, hold hands, speak warmly...
This has been a rough week, let's put out loving thoughts and do something small each day to show others that they are loved and appreciated. Small things really do make a big difference. 

Love and Light my dears, 

Thursday, December 13, 2012


When it rains it pours.

I have been living with the possibility of dual realities for a few weeks.
There is big news, dear friends, that I have been quiet on and unable to confirm until just yesterday.

I have been accepted into an MA program at the
College of Visual and Performing Arts
 George Mason University 
in Fairfax Virginia!
...Beginning in JANUARY!

For those of you at home keeping score-
YES, I have just moved with my husband from Seattle to Houston.
YES, the movers came yesterday and delivered our household goods and today unpacked.
YES, I will be packing a small bag, my shower sandals, my laptop and camera, and moving to Fairfax at the end of December... sans John Darling.
My darling will be staying in Houston and working his ass off while I work my ass off studying!
For those of you that know John and I, this is monumental to our future. We will miss each other but this is an opportunity we cannot turn down.

For the past few months we have been practicing quiet. Stillness. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting for the water to boil, to at least create a bit of steam. Beware, dear friends that throwing many pots on the stove may lead to them all boiling at once!

In October I threw together an application to my dream school with little hope they would ever get back to me. At the most I thought I could always apply to schools for next fall. I only sent out the one application on the off chance something may come of it... and then I let it go.

When we were in Houston house hunting I received an email from my DREAM school informing me that I had a phone interview with a faculty member regarding admissions. This email came the night before signing a lease on the house in Houston. I did not sleep well that night considering the magnitude of both realities. 

Long story short, the interview went AMAZING and I realized that I could have it all. The education I want, the (proud) man of my dreams, and a supportive and loving family that understands. Shit I am tearing up I am so excited! I hope I remember how to maneuver my way through collegiate red tape!

It will be hard, what grad school isn't?
We will miss each other PAINFULLY.
It is time to put my big girl panties on and GET TO WORK.

I know what I am bringing with me to Virginia. Potential. Dedication. Ambition. 
And my espresso machine.


ps. GMU has two (!) Nobel prizes in economics. WHAT?! I am going to be taking finance and business strategy from these people? OKAY!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 In Boxes!

Happy 12-12-12! 
This has been a big day indeed.
A letter came in the mail today that I have been waiting for. 
BUT THAT blog will be written in a little bit. And trust me. It is a doooooozy.

It is a big day for so many reasons!
The movers came today!
We have our own bed again!
The heat got turned on today! (There was frost on my car this morning?!?)
The propane stove and water heater work now!
An invitation to John's first work party!

Note: NEVER fill out a wedding registry while living in a house the size of which you shall never have again. We will never have a house that big again, what possesed us to dream so BIG with our registry?? Dummys! 

Buried in boxes.

Sure. Block the sink with the seriously heavy boxes.


"When the heart speaks and the heart listens, harmony is produced."
- Ravi Shankar RIP 4/7/1920- 12/11/2012