Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let's Talk about Berries, Baby.

Yes, let's.  Summer screams berry season and as a lover of all things berry, it's my favorite time of year.  Though I'm not gonna lie, I say that about most of our Midwest seasons.  Except winter.  Our polar winter this past year kinda took away the glowing feelings I had about wintertime.  Winter, you've got a lot of making up to do this year, buddy.

Anyways, on to the berries.  First, I wanted to share some berry art with you to get ya in the berry mood.  I found this darling piece below on Etsy, but unfortunately for us berry lovers, it looks like it has expired, though I did track down the artist, Judith Moffatt, and her lovely tissue paper collages.  See the link below.

Her piece totally reminds me of the classic Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey, one of my all time favorites.

So while I haven't been traveling, hanging with family, friends, and dogs, and taking insanely boring grad classes this summer, I've been enjoying some summer baking.  And what better way to bake than to use the fruits of my own labor: the berries from my backyard garden!

This season's berries started out with gooseberries galore, which were turned into a delicious gooseberry crisp, using Smitten Kitchen's recipe for strawberry rhubarb crisp bars (which I whipped up with strawberries and backyard rhubarb many times this summer too).  This time, I just subbed in gooseberries instead of the rhubarb and strawberries.

Now, if you aren't familiar with gooseberries, they are nature's version of the Sour Patch Kids (which I LOOOOVE and are my downfall in the candy aisle).  So, I can justify gooseberry crisp bars as being healthier than Sour Patch Kids, right?

The gooseberry crisp bars turned out sour and sweet and super duper delicious.  The gooseberries burst open a little bit, but still held onto their plumpness!  I even froze a couple for a snack for later (yeah, they didn't last long).

Please excuse the shadow-y picture.  It was probably caused by me or my husband lurking nearby to check how soon this dessert would be ready for devouring.

Raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are coming in soooooon.  So stay berry tuned in, okay?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Caribbean Cool.

Okay, I am finally up and running and ready to post some pics from our recent trip to Saint-Martin, aka Sint Maarten.  Our flights coming home were pretty rough and as a sufferer of severe motion sickness, let's just say, it took me a while to get my land legs back.  Not gonna be Capt. Jack Sparrow anytime soon, I'll tell ya that much.

Well, St. Martin is a Caribbean island that hosts a large Dutch population on the Southern half of the island (Sint Maarten) and a French population on the Northern half (Saint-Martin).

We rented a room through our fave place, https://www.airbnb.com/, and stayed on the Dutch side, but veryyyyy close to the French border.  We were literally RIGHT on the water.

Yep, that's the view from our balcony.  Just a staircase down to the beach.

The best feature of the place we rented (other than the beach of course) was that the owner owned two beautiful sister dogs, and one of the lovely ladies would sleep in front of our door every night and when we opened our door in the morning, there was our friendly Walmart greeter.

This dog was the perfect cure for missing my own dog.

 The Dutch side of the island is known for its nightlife, beaches, casinos, and drinks (more on that later) and the French side is renown for its cuisine (and yes, more on that too).

Our vacation consisted of a lot of beach-hopping and sampling the island's cuisine offerings.

Sint Maarten is known for its guavaberry rum, as well as, other fun rum drinks, so below is THE Old Man Guavaberry Rum Shop and a pic of a locally made rum drink, bottled and beach-ready for your beverage pleasure...

The locally made rum drink seemed to contain a banana or plantain (still not sure), a vanilla bean, and some guavaberries.

We checked out the French market in Saint-Martin, wandered around, and picked up some fresh off the boat red snapper for a delish dinner.

 Sorry guys, but you tasted really good...

 The doors of the buildings where the fish and meat vendors were located.

Annd of course, no visit to a French market or neighborhood is complete without some French cuisine and pastries...

Seriously, the meal at this place was one of the best meals of our entire trip.  The food was Creole cuisine and we had the conch stew and pork ribs, and both were incredible.

And of course, sticking with the food line of thought (and apparently because that's all we did on this trip), I wanted to share some pics from Yvette's Restaurant.  The restaurant is run out of a woman's home (Yvette's I presume?) and is a local favorite featuring Cajun and Creole cuisine.  Everything on the menu was AMAZING.

Lest you think all I did on the trip was eat (which I did...a LOT), here are some other pics I snapped along the way.

Oranje School in Philipsburg

This is the post office in Philipsburg.

I loved how there was street art everywhere.

Cemetery in the French Quarter.

Can't help but photograph aged things.

  Mural on the side of a local art gallery in the French Quarter.

Church in French Quarter

And because no vacation post is complete without my door obsession (see here), BOOM!

Now that I'm home, I might actually, GASP, try and make some art!  I'll keep ya posted.

Until then, I'll leave you with this image that went through my head every single day in St. Martin.  God bless you, Johnny Depp...and rum. Bless that too.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Dose of Color.

Just got home from a beautiful trip and before I post pics from that wonderful vacay, I wanted to share some fun color bursts from my classroom last year.  I know, I know, I'm living in the past, but seriously, color AND organization!?  CAN'T GET ENOUGH!

And while I'm on the topic of all things colorful and organized, I wanted to thank the lovely folks over at Segmation for the wonderfully written and kind blog post about me found here.  You all are great!

Now, I'm not gonna lie, I am already getting excited about decorating my room again this coming year and have a plan for my theme too, which I am pumped about.  But, while you wait with bated breath, enjoy these pics.  If you're as into organization as I am, then I hope you really enjoy them!

Soooo, if you can't tell by now, I am a bit over-the-top when it comes to my organization, but if I wasn't this organized I would lose my MIND (plus probably a lot of supplies too).

This is my latest OCD addition to my supplies.  Used up a wee bit of leftover scrap paper to keep my paints from turning into a mishmash.

Ahhhhh, le sigh, oh organization, how I love thee!