Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Two Friends' Tale: Christmas in June & Tea

This week Anna and I got together for some quality time! We were in search of a craft that we could do together. Initially, we were thinking of painting ceramics at a place that used to be in town called Artsy Fartsy. However, we came to find that they had moved.. So instead, we went to Hobby Lobby in search of a craft that was simple enough to do in a day and still fun! And what we found filled us with the Christmas spirit!

Hobby Lobby had displayed all sorts of Christmas ornament and decor materials in their main aisle!! And after perusing the entire store, we landed on these adorable dino stockings and decided that we would color them in with fabric markers!

We love dinos and we love coloring - So this was obviously a match made in heaven! :D 
Armed with some sweet beats and tunes, we laid on the floor, coloring like the kids we truly are. <3

We purchased Crayola brand fabric markers because they came in a variety of fabulously bright colors and also because they were the least expensive. They bled quite a bit in use though... :P Oh well! 
Here are our beautiful masterpieces!


Aren't they fabulous?! :P 

The next part of the adventure happened when Anna's mom came home. We joined her mom and her sister on a visit to a new shop in town. It's called Magic Tree tea and gifts - and, man, was it magical! We enjoyed tasting delicious teas and browsing their selection of unique gifts. There were quite a few things I wanted to take home with me, but I restrained myself and only got one item. It was this beautiful box: 

One of the teas we were lucky to taste was a Three Flower Burst Flowering Tea. I saw the label of the tea container and I think this was the tea we tasted: 

It was so fun to watch it bloom while it steeped! Here are some snapshots of it blooming from our afternoon in the Magic Tree shop! 

It was a great little shop and the people were incredibly nice. I will definitely be returning for those other items that I was eyeballing and maybe even some tea to take home! Hope that you have a chance to happen upon/be introduced to a great little shop sometime. It really is a treat! 
Stay excellent! 
- Jenny -

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Food Adventures: A Feast Fit for a Father

Happy Fathers' Day to all of those dads, stepdads, granddads, and male role models!
You are all pivotal in so many lives and you deserve a day to bask in the glory of the love you have helped bring into this world!

For my dad on Fathers' Day, my sister and I have collaborated to create a dinner! We also got him seasons 1 and 2 of Bones and my sis made him a card for us. Aren't we just the greatest?? ;)

As for the food,
I tried to incorporate my dad's favorite foods, so I landed on:
  • 13 Bean Soup
  • Homemade Dinner Rolls
  • Home-baked Cookies 
So I went in search of recipes. I found this great recipe for bean soup with a search of "bean soup" on (I love And to accompany this hearty, savory soup, I found a recipe for these rosemary garlic butter rolls. I let my sister decide what kind of cookies we should make and she decided that we should make peanut butter (those are my dad's favorite) with chocolate kisses on top. 

This was quite the food adventure. My sister and I worked from about 12:15 in the afternoon until 4:00pm, making these dishes (soup simmered for just under two hours after that). Everything went relatively well! I mean, the soup is still simmering (so we'll see how that turns out in the end.... Cross your fingers!). The rolls look delicious and smell crazy good and the cookies are wonderful (I already ate a couple). 

We did have a few missteps along the way, but what adventure doesn't have a few unexpected turns??
  • I forgot to soak the beans overnight, seeing as they are dried beans. But, before I freaked out and scratched the entire idea, I looked up alternative methods for soaking beans (google search: "alternative bean soak"). Found out that you can bring the beans and water (2.25 cups of water per cup or 8 oz. of beans) to a boil and then remove from heat, cover, and let sit for one hour. This method seems to be working for me! I just tasted a bean in the soup and it is softening right on schedule! Hooray for the internets!
  • While baking the cookies, my sister removed a sheet of cookies and placed them on the stove. While she was pressing kisses into them she smelled burning cookie. Sure enough, the cookies on one half of the sheet were indeed burning! We were really confused, until we realized that the burner under that side of the sheet was still hot from bringing the beans to a boil! Whoops! We only lost three cookies, though - so it wasn't such a big deal. :P 
  • UPDATE: In fear of having my beans not fully cooked - I ended up cooking them a bit too long. :P Oh well, the soup was still delicious! It was just past its perfect consistency. 
So here are some pics of the feast fit for a father! If you're interested in these recipes - be sure to check out the original sources! I didn't change them by much and they are delish; definitely keepers in my book. ;) My dad was particularly impressed with the rolls (as was I!! Yummmmm <3).
Happy fathers' day! 
Stay excellent! 
- Jenny -

Don't worry, I removed the ham hock before serving. ;)