I love my dog. A good dog can bring comfort after a long day, make you smile when your heart is broken, and make you say “aww” when you discover her curled up in your spot on the couch. My family has had a number of exceptional pets. In no particular order, there’s been Murphy, Molly, Smokey, Max, Winnie, Rufus, Ruby, Princess (we didn’t name her), Carmen, Max(ine), Petey, Cheerio, Pinky, Pogo, Bailey, Rusty, Calvin, and Hobbes. Extended family pets include Scout, Lele, Tiger, and Rocco. I’m sure there have been more, but those were the most memorable ones anyway. Among them, there were dogs, cats, countless fish, a turtle, a bird, and roughly 200 hamsters. A note to parents out there: It might not be the best idea to buy both a male and a female hamster and keep them in the same cage. Read More
Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!: A Puzzling Novel by C. Casey Gardiner can be found on Amazon and a slew of local bookstores in Metro Detroit. This first printing was funded on Kickstarter with the help of friends, family, and strangers. I ought to admit that I am Casey’s little sister, so this book review is probably completely biased. That being said, I love Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!, and everyone should read it. Read More
My Etsy shop, Afternoon at Andrea’s, has introduced to me a new part of crafting that I haven’t explored much until the last few years: Making things to sell. Not making things as gifts for people, not making something for myself because I saw this great idea on Pinterest, but actually making things with nobody in particular in mind, for financial growth, and to share my crafts with strangers. I’ve been making things for my friends and family my whole life, and let me tell you, to get positive feedback from a stranger across the country is awesome. It’s like having your grandmother pinch your cheek your whole life and tell you what a pretty singing voice you have… When an unknown audience member compliments you after a concert, it’s a whole new ballgame. It’s like, “Ok, I believe you!” Read More
The patchwork was colorful and perfect. As a child, it kept me warm and safe, and served as the perfect picnic blanket on my bedroom floor with my toys. Each patch was a reflection of something else, a scrap of a bigger purpose. I studied that quilt with my eyes and my hands, so when I noticed that my Grandma’s pants or my Grampaw’s bathrobe shared the same fabrics, I knew that my Grandma had made those pants and that bathrobe, and that the colorful squares in my quilt were scraps from her other projects. The border and backing fabric matched my curtains, white with colorful polka dots. This quilt that was made for me by my Grandma with such love and care will stay with me forever, and it will be passed down through my family. That’s the thing about quilts; they stay with you.
Chris and I made a big batch of traditional Mexican Teloloapan Red Mole sauce (pronounced mo-lay) on Labor Day. The process took 5-1/2 hours. There are many different kinds of Mole, including Mole Poblano, and many different recipes to choose from. I tried Mole for the first time four years ago in Chicago. The cook was from Mexico, and her mole was amazing. Chris had tried mole before at Jalapeño’s in Pontiac, and he was amped. We decided then that we had to make it. Well, we did make it about a year ago, and it was awesome. Took us two days. This time around, it took us less time, and we seem to have it down to a science. And when I say science, I mean science. Homemade Mole is like one giant chemical equation, one giant scientific, kitchenific experiment. It is definitely a process, and that’s just to make the sauce, let alone use the sauce in dishes like tacos and enchiladas.
Dia De Los Tacos is quickly becoming a favorite part of Marquette. Chris and I make our own tacos for dinner at least once a week. When we’re too lazy to cook for ourselves, we often chase down this awesome new taco truck. They just started within the last year, and every time I see the truck, it looks like business is booming. They must be doing something right. With all gluten-free menu items like tacos and pupusas, you’ll never go hungry. Types of tacos include pulled chicken, pulled pork, handmade chorizo, and black bean with poblano pepper, each topped with a variety of garnish and cheese. Read More
I love to bake. I always have, and always will. I learned a lot about baking from my mom and my grandmas, and I have a mean Irish Beer Bread recipe from my Grampaw, but I’ll save that for another day. For now, I decided to bake two kinds of zucchini bread. It all started when I got two zucchinis the size of my arm from my friend Shar. No joke. The first recipe, I got from Chris’ family, which includes an optional Streusel-Nut topping. I left the topping off this time, but it really is the icing on the cake. The second recipe, Chris found for me online and has less sugar and fat, but tastes just as awesome (I LOVE the cranberries). I can’t pick a favorite one. I guess it just depends on what you’re in the mood for. Try them both to figure it out. Everybody wins. This is an excellent way to use those freakishly large zucchinis that can be too tough for other cooking. Always trim the ends and peel the zucchini before shredding. Read More
A while back, I saw a mirror that was painted turquoise with a distressed finished. I saw it, liked it, and wanted it, but didn’t want to spend the money on it. Mirrors like that, sold in stores, solid wood and hand painted and distressed, cost upwards of $300. I’ve been thinking about refinishing some furniture of mine, and I thought a refinished mirror would be a good place to start. I scouted out the local resale shops and found a pretty nice 30″ x 40″ mirror with a solid pine frame. I paid $6 for it and then brought it home and stuck it in the garage where it remained for about six months until I decided I had procrastinated enough. A few days ago, I brought it out of hiding, cleaned the garage, swept the floor, laid out some paper on the floor, and got to work. Read More
The LaRose Wellness Retreat has been a wonderful project to be a part of, and my experiences with Cheryl LaRose, the aunt of my fiancé Christopher LaRose, have been just awesome. When Cheryl asked me to help her with her home and this Bed & Breakfast (minus the Breakfast) project, I was so excited. Of course I’ll help! We started brainstorming immediately. She had only a few short months before it would become critical for the rooms to be ready for guests to stay in. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a beautiful place to visit in the summer. Having migrated from Oakland County in the Lower Peninsula, I can speak from experience. A week-long family vacation to a summer home in the UP can be an amazing, fun adventure for children, a much-needed breath of fresh air for parents, and an incredible experience for families and couples. And here’s Cheryl with this perfect spot, this dream home on Lake Superior, complete with a hot tub, sauna, fireplace, five bedrooms, outdoor pool, deck, enormous yard, and direct access to the cool, fresh water of Lake Superior. Simply amazing. Read More
Chris and I eat avocados all the time, mostly in guacamole, tacos, salads, and veggie burgers. Growing up, it became a joke in my family to say “If you don’t eat it, we’re only going to throw it away.” Truly, this has stuck with me (don’t even get me started about the Clean Plate Club), so when I realized how many avocado pits we were throwing away, and how little greenery we had in our apartment, I decided to grow some avocado trees. My soon-to-be mother in law Juli gave me one avocado pit which she had already started to root, and we may have a small forest on our hands in the near future. For now, I’ve got three and a half healthy, happy trees, one struggling little guy who I refuse to give up on, and eight starting pits in mason jars. Read More