Saturday, April 12, 2014

What I'm watching these days.

by Leslie

It really is the Golden Age of television right now, isn't it?  I mean, there is hardly a person out there who can't find a show to obsess over and look forward to each week.

My current (and when I say current I mean continuous, of course) obsession is British Dramas.  I know we've all jumped on the Downton Abbey train (although I have to inwardly brag that I was there from the beginning, thanks to my PBS-loving grandma)--but what else is going on out there?


Many of you have probably heard of the show Call the Midwife.  This show follows three young midwives whilst they go about their (stressful!) business in 1950's London.  They serve a mostly poor and uneducated population and each episode contains a story line about one or two different moms ready to have a baby.  The main character, Jenny Lee, and the show's story line are based upon a real person and real events.  The "real" Jenny Lee, Jennifer Worth, wrote about her experiences in a series of memoirs which I highly recommend!  I have only read the first, but really liked it.

This show couldn't portray women in a more realistic light--the characters are unique, smart, and each have their own talents and flaws.  Even if you're not into "birthin' no babies", you may still found yourself drawn into this touching, intelligent drama.  I have not failed to shed a tear in the two seasons I have watched.  Also, this show introduced my to one of my new favorite actresses of all time, Miranda Hart.  She is a British comedian and plays the hilarious and oft sensitive Chummy on the show.  If you're already a fan, Season 3 is airing Sunday nights on PBS!





The other show I am currently obsessed with is The Bletchley Circle.  There have only been 3 episodes so far, but they are on Netflix and I dare you to watch only one!  The good news is, you can watch Season 1 today and then catch second season TOMORROW NIGHT (April 13)!  I don't even know how I can describe this show to you to make it sound as interesting as it actually is.

The show starts with four young women working in an intelligence office during World War II.  It is there job to crack codes and decipher correspondence of the German army.  It is obvious that they are incredibly smart ladies and make a difference in the war.  Fast forward nine years and we find Susan (the main character) living a rather dull life without a sense of purpose.  A series of murders have occurred and Susan is sure that there is a pattern within the murders that will lead to the killer.  She gets the old girls back together to help her and what follows is magical!!  The four use their code cracking tactics and connections from the war to try and find the murderer.  You just . . . have to watch it.  Mind you, it's kind of scary, so don't watch it late at night when you're home alone, okay?

This list could go on, but I'm getting a bit verbose here, so BBC is the only one getting any love today.  What have you been watching?


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Leslie's Summer Recap

Wow.  This summer has been so fast, fun, and full of adventure that I've hardly written about it.  I took a lot of snapshots that never got shared on the blog, so I thought I would gather a few here to remember the summer.

 We had our first crop of strawberries.  It was small, but they were delicious!


 I got visits from some very cute babies (that really aren't babies anymore!)


Who could resist reading one more story to this cutie?


We had some crazy pretty rains (and a lot of dry spells).


 More summer guests!


We are always sure to put our guests to work!  Jaime's mom helped dig potatoes.


Many summer road trips.  House on the Rock, anyone?



Seriously delicious summer taco salad.

Sometimes it's so fun to look back at pictures and realize that you really did savor the season after all.  Happy fall, everyone!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A little bit o' London!

by Leslie

A couple of weeks ago, we went on the trip I've wanted to go on for, well, most of my life.  I've always loved the literature, television, and vibe of Britain, an finally, this summer, we got to go!  Here are some highlights.



This is the first piece of advice we got in London.  You know what?  It really didn't hurt me to mind the gap.  It really didn't.


We stayed at a great little B & B run by a great lady called Deepa.  The breakfast was great and she was so accommodating of our schedule.


First night in, we had to stay awake, so we walked up to Primrose Hill for a drink and some snacks.  I have to say, Jaime stayed looking fresh!


Our bed and breakfast was near Camden Town so we walked down to the lock on the first night.  I would love to say we went there on purpose . . .  but we didn't.


Don't forget to take a selfie by the water!


Our first "real" day in London we went to the British Museum, the National Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery.  It was an action-packed day, and it was great.


Even Colombia was represented on Trafalgar Square!


Oh, look!  Another happy accident!  Twinings Tea shop in the heart of "The City."


Look how long and skinny it is!  I came out with a Royal Jubilee tea blend.



Kensington Palace--lovely, but not as great as I was expecting.  It was set up more like a museum than a palace.


Kensington Palace gardens.  Lovely!


This is me in front of the Prince Albert Memorial.  It was so grand!


 Afternoon tea?  Why yes, of course.  This tea was taken at The Parlor in Fortnum and Mason's department store.  Best. Scones. Ever.


The next day included a trip to Westminster Abbey.  Amazing, awe inspiring, and damn old.


 "Look kids!  Big Ben!  Parliament!"


 We met some friends at Canary Wharf for a lovely dinner.  Thanks Wilson and Marianna!


Here is my token telephone booth photo.  You can tell I am not excited, and that's because it smelled like urine.


 This is Somerset House where we went to the Cortauld Gallery.  This was Jaime's one "must-do" activity.  I am so glad it was, because this art museum is amazing and small enough to see everything.  Go there.


The next day, we went to Waterloo Station to pick up some train tickets, and came upon an amazing market where we had numerous amazing eats.  Here Jaime is eating a lamb curry inside fresh naan.  Delectable.
 Next, we popped over to a sign labeled "Malaysian Street Food" where we had what the vendor called pancakes.  Making these was an art in itself.  Ours included sugar, coconut, butter, and beans.  The verdict?

 Delectable!!!


 Second dessert, anyone?  Fresh churros and chocolate will have to do, I guess.


Instead of second dessert, Jaime opted for a chorizo kebab.  It gave him strength for our next journey--to Salisbury!


Once we got to Salisbury, we immediately hopped on the bus to Stonehenge.  It was amazing and creepy, but there were waaay too many people there.


We also stopped at Old Sarum, which is where Salisbury used to be.  Here's Jaime in front of the old castle.


Life is hard hiking through the heath (or taking a bus through it).


 Anyone fancy a Medieval song or two?


Salisbury Cathedral was one of the highlights of the trip.  It was short-lived, though.  The next day we headed off to Bath!

 Bath was so gorgeous and relaxing.  Here is "the crescent", one of Bath's archaeological feats.


The Pump Room!!!!!  I'm a big Jane Austen fan . . .


Tea at the Pump Room was like a dream, complete with string quartet.



The next day we were back to London, and then to the states.  It was a trip I will never forget.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Culminating Activity

by Erin

Tomorrow I go back to real world.  I have a week of teacher meetings ahead of me where we will inevitably discuss the benefits of rigorous culminating activities for the new darlings that will enter our classroom in just over a week.  In that vain, this Friday, my last official day of summer vacation, I decided to have my own culminating activity for my summer.   Here is what occurred (WARNING: Sometimes I was working so hard on my rigorous activity that I didn't take pictures).

Max took the day off on Friday to hang with me and he finished our compost!

Max and Toulouse show off the new compost
While Max was working away on the compost.  I cut some zinnias and dahlias to put around the house.

Zinnias
Our dear friends Mike and Eva came over for some grilled sausages, a fire, and some dog romping.

Walter and Toulouse playing the night away.
The capstone of our evening  may have been this beauty.

Berry & Whipped Cream Chocolate Cake
I made this surprisingly easy summer cake for dessert.  

According to my self-created rubric, I scored a 100%.  I know, I know, I sound like I'm bragging but friends, family, dogs, delicious eats, and the reapings of our backyard is what best describes my delightful summer.  




Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sunday Morning Pannekoeken

by Leslie




Weekend mornings have always been a time for a special breakfast in my family.  My dad often made waffles and pancakes and my mom would whip up coffee cake and Monkey Bread .  I love to do the same, but let's face it.  I also like to sleep in.  A few Sundays ago, Jaime and I were really jonesing for a special breakfast, so we thought we'd go to a local restaurant, Pannekoeken.  The problem was, we had gone out for a meal the night before, and we decided we needed to save the funds.  So, I decided to attempt my own pannekoeken.  Deliciousness ensued.

These are not at all hard to make!  I dare you to make one and eat the heck out of it.  We ate the whole thing.

I added some raspberries for a little pizazz.  They were a definite plus!



Look at that moon-like surface!


Add a little powdered sugar and let's call this breakfast!


Basic Pannekoeken (also known as a Dutch baby pancake)
Original recipe found here

Ingredients:
2 T unsalted butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
Berries or fruit of your choice (optional)

Powdered sugar for garnish
Maple syrup

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  If you have time, bring all of your ingredients to room temperature.  Word on the street is, this helps the pancake puff.  I didn't have time and it turned out fine!

2.  Put the butter in a 12" skillet and place it in the oven to melt.  Whilst the butter melts, put all other ingredients (except berries) in a blender and blend until smooth.

3.  Take skillet out of oven and swirl it around to distribute the butter.  Add egg mixture to skillet (as well as berries, if you choose) and return to oven.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the pancake puffs up and gets brown around the edges.  

4.   Garnish with powdered sugar and slice into wedges. Serve immediately with maple syrup.  

Enjoy!

Friday, August 2, 2013

From 'Just' Curtains to Window Treatments

by Erin

We recently painted our staircase up to the second floor.  The Stair Room, as we call it, was shaping up nicely but needed one last addition. . . window treatments.  I started here:

Phase 1: Stair Room curtains
This beautiful ikat fabric came from The Needle Shop and really adds some much needed pizzazz to the Stair Room.  I really like panel curtains because I can easily open (and keep open) my curtains like this:
cafe curtains 
You can really fling them open in a dramatic fashion.

They are also impossibly easy to make because you basically just hem, iron, pin, and sew some straight(ish) lines.  I decided to hang my rod higher than the window since that is what Apartment Therapy tells me to do.  I would have like to have tried to gone higher, but I didn't have enough fabric.

So there we are, curtains.

Somehow this wasn't enough for me.

If the curtains were closed the stairway was too dark and if they were open "they don't offer the privacy we wanted," says the people walking upstairs from the bathroom in their towels.

Luckily I had signed up for the roman shade class at The Needle Shop as an end of the school year gift to myself.  So the day after my class (which was awesome. . . as always).  I got straight to work on my own roman shade for this very room.

Behold!

Curtains with roman shades
The whiteness of this beautiful Robert Kaufman fabric from Selvedge Studio, a great fabric store in Missoula, Montana, now lets in the light but adds the privacy factor.

The Stair Room - chandelier and all
The roman shade has dowels evenly placed on the back of the fabric and as you pull up the shade folds up into itself.  Making for a very clean and functional shade. 

casings for dowels - Robert Kaufman fabric was lined with muslin
Pulley mechanism
partially folded shade 
tie off
For as fancy as this shade looks, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, though I wouldn't have wanted to take this project on without the class.  Allison of The Needle Shop really did a nice job of explaining the finer points to me.  It took some precision and patience, which is good for me since I have a lacking in both of those qualities.   

Now these two can keep their windowsill, interspecies love private from the rest of the household members.



Saturday, April 12, 2014

What I'm watching these days.

by Leslie

It really is the Golden Age of television right now, isn't it?  I mean, there is hardly a person out there who can't find a show to obsess over and look forward to each week.

My current (and when I say current I mean continuous, of course) obsession is British Dramas.  I know we've all jumped on the Downton Abbey train (although I have to inwardly brag that I was there from the beginning, thanks to my PBS-loving grandma)--but what else is going on out there?


Many of you have probably heard of the show Call the Midwife.  This show follows three young midwives whilst they go about their (stressful!) business in 1950's London.  They serve a mostly poor and uneducated population and each episode contains a story line about one or two different moms ready to have a baby.  The main character, Jenny Lee, and the show's story line are based upon a real person and real events.  The "real" Jenny Lee, Jennifer Worth, wrote about her experiences in a series of memoirs which I highly recommend!  I have only read the first, but really liked it.

This show couldn't portray women in a more realistic light--the characters are unique, smart, and each have their own talents and flaws.  Even if you're not into "birthin' no babies", you may still found yourself drawn into this touching, intelligent drama.  I have not failed to shed a tear in the two seasons I have watched.  Also, this show introduced my to one of my new favorite actresses of all time, Miranda Hart.  She is a British comedian and plays the hilarious and oft sensitive Chummy on the show.  If you're already a fan, Season 3 is airing Sunday nights on PBS!





The other show I am currently obsessed with is The Bletchley Circle.  There have only been 3 episodes so far, but they are on Netflix and I dare you to watch only one!  The good news is, you can watch Season 1 today and then catch second season TOMORROW NIGHT (April 13)!  I don't even know how I can describe this show to you to make it sound as interesting as it actually is.

The show starts with four young women working in an intelligence office during World War II.  It is there job to crack codes and decipher correspondence of the German army.  It is obvious that they are incredibly smart ladies and make a difference in the war.  Fast forward nine years and we find Susan (the main character) living a rather dull life without a sense of purpose.  A series of murders have occurred and Susan is sure that there is a pattern within the murders that will lead to the killer.  She gets the old girls back together to help her and what follows is magical!!  The four use their code cracking tactics and connections from the war to try and find the murderer.  You just . . . have to watch it.  Mind you, it's kind of scary, so don't watch it late at night when you're home alone, okay?

This list could go on, but I'm getting a bit verbose here, so BBC is the only one getting any love today.  What have you been watching?


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Leslie's Summer Recap

Wow.  This summer has been so fast, fun, and full of adventure that I've hardly written about it.  I took a lot of snapshots that never got shared on the blog, so I thought I would gather a few here to remember the summer.

 We had our first crop of strawberries.  It was small, but they were delicious!


 I got visits from some very cute babies (that really aren't babies anymore!)


Who could resist reading one more story to this cutie?


We had some crazy pretty rains (and a lot of dry spells).


 More summer guests!


We are always sure to put our guests to work!  Jaime's mom helped dig potatoes.


Many summer road trips.  House on the Rock, anyone?



Seriously delicious summer taco salad.

Sometimes it's so fun to look back at pictures and realize that you really did savor the season after all.  Happy fall, everyone!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A little bit o' London!

by Leslie

A couple of weeks ago, we went on the trip I've wanted to go on for, well, most of my life.  I've always loved the literature, television, and vibe of Britain, an finally, this summer, we got to go!  Here are some highlights.



This is the first piece of advice we got in London.  You know what?  It really didn't hurt me to mind the gap.  It really didn't.


We stayed at a great little B & B run by a great lady called Deepa.  The breakfast was great and she was so accommodating of our schedule.


First night in, we had to stay awake, so we walked up to Primrose Hill for a drink and some snacks.  I have to say, Jaime stayed looking fresh!


Our bed and breakfast was near Camden Town so we walked down to the lock on the first night.  I would love to say we went there on purpose . . .  but we didn't.


Don't forget to take a selfie by the water!


Our first "real" day in London we went to the British Museum, the National Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery.  It was an action-packed day, and it was great.


Even Colombia was represented on Trafalgar Square!


Oh, look!  Another happy accident!  Twinings Tea shop in the heart of "The City."


Look how long and skinny it is!  I came out with a Royal Jubilee tea blend.



Kensington Palace--lovely, but not as great as I was expecting.  It was set up more like a museum than a palace.


Kensington Palace gardens.  Lovely!


This is me in front of the Prince Albert Memorial.  It was so grand!


 Afternoon tea?  Why yes, of course.  This tea was taken at The Parlor in Fortnum and Mason's department store.  Best. Scones. Ever.


The next day included a trip to Westminster Abbey.  Amazing, awe inspiring, and damn old.


 "Look kids!  Big Ben!  Parliament!"


 We met some friends at Canary Wharf for a lovely dinner.  Thanks Wilson and Marianna!


Here is my token telephone booth photo.  You can tell I am not excited, and that's because it smelled like urine.


 This is Somerset House where we went to the Cortauld Gallery.  This was Jaime's one "must-do" activity.  I am so glad it was, because this art museum is amazing and small enough to see everything.  Go there.


The next day, we went to Waterloo Station to pick up some train tickets, and came upon an amazing market where we had numerous amazing eats.  Here Jaime is eating a lamb curry inside fresh naan.  Delectable.
 Next, we popped over to a sign labeled "Malaysian Street Food" where we had what the vendor called pancakes.  Making these was an art in itself.  Ours included sugar, coconut, butter, and beans.  The verdict?

 Delectable!!!


 Second dessert, anyone?  Fresh churros and chocolate will have to do, I guess.


Instead of second dessert, Jaime opted for a chorizo kebab.  It gave him strength for our next journey--to Salisbury!


Once we got to Salisbury, we immediately hopped on the bus to Stonehenge.  It was amazing and creepy, but there were waaay too many people there.


We also stopped at Old Sarum, which is where Salisbury used to be.  Here's Jaime in front of the old castle.


Life is hard hiking through the heath (or taking a bus through it).


 Anyone fancy a Medieval song or two?


Salisbury Cathedral was one of the highlights of the trip.  It was short-lived, though.  The next day we headed off to Bath!

 Bath was so gorgeous and relaxing.  Here is "the crescent", one of Bath's archaeological feats.


The Pump Room!!!!!  I'm a big Jane Austen fan . . .


Tea at the Pump Room was like a dream, complete with string quartet.



The next day we were back to London, and then to the states.  It was a trip I will never forget.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Culminating Activity

by Erin

Tomorrow I go back to real world.  I have a week of teacher meetings ahead of me where we will inevitably discuss the benefits of rigorous culminating activities for the new darlings that will enter our classroom in just over a week.  In that vain, this Friday, my last official day of summer vacation, I decided to have my own culminating activity for my summer.   Here is what occurred (WARNING: Sometimes I was working so hard on my rigorous activity that I didn't take pictures).

Max took the day off on Friday to hang with me and he finished our compost!

Max and Toulouse show off the new compost
While Max was working away on the compost.  I cut some zinnias and dahlias to put around the house.

Zinnias
Our dear friends Mike and Eva came over for some grilled sausages, a fire, and some dog romping.

Walter and Toulouse playing the night away.
The capstone of our evening  may have been this beauty.

Berry & Whipped Cream Chocolate Cake
I made this surprisingly easy summer cake for dessert.  

According to my self-created rubric, I scored a 100%.  I know, I know, I sound like I'm bragging but friends, family, dogs, delicious eats, and the reapings of our backyard is what best describes my delightful summer.  




Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sunday Morning Pannekoeken

by Leslie




Weekend mornings have always been a time for a special breakfast in my family.  My dad often made waffles and pancakes and my mom would whip up coffee cake and Monkey Bread .  I love to do the same, but let's face it.  I also like to sleep in.  A few Sundays ago, Jaime and I were really jonesing for a special breakfast, so we thought we'd go to a local restaurant, Pannekoeken.  The problem was, we had gone out for a meal the night before, and we decided we needed to save the funds.  So, I decided to attempt my own pannekoeken.  Deliciousness ensued.

These are not at all hard to make!  I dare you to make one and eat the heck out of it.  We ate the whole thing.

I added some raspberries for a little pizazz.  They were a definite plus!



Look at that moon-like surface!


Add a little powdered sugar and let's call this breakfast!


Basic Pannekoeken (also known as a Dutch baby pancake)
Original recipe found here

Ingredients:
2 T unsalted butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
Berries or fruit of your choice (optional)

Powdered sugar for garnish
Maple syrup

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  If you have time, bring all of your ingredients to room temperature.  Word on the street is, this helps the pancake puff.  I didn't have time and it turned out fine!

2.  Put the butter in a 12" skillet and place it in the oven to melt.  Whilst the butter melts, put all other ingredients (except berries) in a blender and blend until smooth.

3.  Take skillet out of oven and swirl it around to distribute the butter.  Add egg mixture to skillet (as well as berries, if you choose) and return to oven.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the pancake puffs up and gets brown around the edges.  

4.   Garnish with powdered sugar and slice into wedges. Serve immediately with maple syrup.  

Enjoy!

Friday, August 2, 2013

From 'Just' Curtains to Window Treatments

by Erin

We recently painted our staircase up to the second floor.  The Stair Room, as we call it, was shaping up nicely but needed one last addition. . . window treatments.  I started here:

Phase 1: Stair Room curtains
This beautiful ikat fabric came from The Needle Shop and really adds some much needed pizzazz to the Stair Room.  I really like panel curtains because I can easily open (and keep open) my curtains like this:
cafe curtains 
You can really fling them open in a dramatic fashion.

They are also impossibly easy to make because you basically just hem, iron, pin, and sew some straight(ish) lines.  I decided to hang my rod higher than the window since that is what Apartment Therapy tells me to do.  I would have like to have tried to gone higher, but I didn't have enough fabric.

So there we are, curtains.

Somehow this wasn't enough for me.

If the curtains were closed the stairway was too dark and if they were open "they don't offer the privacy we wanted," says the people walking upstairs from the bathroom in their towels.

Luckily I had signed up for the roman shade class at The Needle Shop as an end of the school year gift to myself.  So the day after my class (which was awesome. . . as always).  I got straight to work on my own roman shade for this very room.

Behold!

Curtains with roman shades
The whiteness of this beautiful Robert Kaufman fabric from Selvedge Studio, a great fabric store in Missoula, Montana, now lets in the light but adds the privacy factor.

The Stair Room - chandelier and all
The roman shade has dowels evenly placed on the back of the fabric and as you pull up the shade folds up into itself.  Making for a very clean and functional shade. 

casings for dowels - Robert Kaufman fabric was lined with muslin
Pulley mechanism
partially folded shade 
tie off
For as fancy as this shade looks, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, though I wouldn't have wanted to take this project on without the class.  Allison of The Needle Shop really did a nice job of explaining the finer points to me.  It took some precision and patience, which is good for me since I have a lacking in both of those qualities.   

Now these two can keep their windowsill, interspecies love private from the rest of the household members.