Birthday Extravaganza

Yesterday was my birthday, which I am honored to share with Terry Pratchett and Harper Lee!! Before the actual day of my birthday though I had quite the birthday extravaganza!! Between all my family and friends I must have had four celebrations and five birthday cakes before it was even my birthday!!
Here you can see birthday celebration part IV (maybe?), Rick got a quartet of delicious chocolate goodies for me!! Since I'm not a big cake person I loved this, along with the birthday tiramisu, birthday key lime pie, and birthday bananas foster that I celebrated with!! I had to work last night but Rick brought sushi to work along with my presents so it was a great celebration!
I think my favorite part so far though was after dinner at Legal Seafoods on Sunday I went to check out the seals in front of the aquarium. While the aquarium may be a little expensive, the seals are completely free and I could have spent hours hanging out with them and enjoying their antics.

With all the celebrations, love from friends and family, and the great weather yesterday, this has to be the best birthday ever!! Here's hoping 23 is even better than 22!!



Here is Harry, our spokesdog for the event.

Yesterday was the fantastic Boston Marathon! If you want hours of entertainment and excitement for free, then Marathon Monday in Boston is for you. A friend of mine lives on the course route, so we were able to set up a brunch on her front stoop and get a great view of the excitement!!
Here you see Kara Goucher battling it out with the other elite women runners. She ended up getting third, maybe next year Kara!
We were between mile 23 and 24 of the marathon, so there was a lot of excitement and a lot of people who looked like they wanted to die.
We spent about six hours cheering on runners. There were quite a few runners in funny costumes, and even more runners with great signs or who had their names on their arms or shirts so you could cheer for people by name. It was great seeing people get a boost from having 15 strangers yelling their name.


Red Sox Game!!

As my Christmas present, Rick got us tickets to the Red Sox Game!! I was so excited walking in the stadium. I had only ever been to Sea Dogs games before (which are my first love as far as baseball is concerned) and this was so different.
It was so exciting with people everywhere, all kinds of delicious smelling food.
Of course it was fun to see the stadium too, especially with all the history there.
Our seats were way up in the bleachers but I thought they were great. Plus, once we had beers and hot dogs what more do you need?
Slugger, that is the answer to what more could I need to enjoy the game! This is the mascot of the AA farm team the Portland Sea Dogs and I was jokingly asking Rick before the game if Slugger would be there. Then, lo and behold, SLUGGER!!! I challenge all of you to find a better mascot, you can try, but you won't succeed.

All in all it was a great night and so much fun! Now I can say I'm a real Bostonian cause I've finally gone to a game!


Finished Socks

I finally accomplished one of my knitting goals... SOCKS!Here you can see one finished and the other well on its way
And here they are! A pair of hand knit socks. I was surprised at how simple socks are, things like short rows, turning the heel, picking up stitches for the gusset... all sounded so scary but were relatively simple. Not to say these two are without flaw though, I will have to get much better about my measuring, but for a first pair of socks I'd say they're perfect.


Icky Weather?

Yesterday was a sad reminder that winter in New England does not leave in March; the weather was gross, and cold and rainy. So what were a southern boy and a sick-of-being-cold New England girl to do? COOK! I have exclaimed in the past that cold weather is perfect for knitting (and it is) but it is also super for getting your kitchen windows steamy with pot after pot of warm deliciousness.

Sauteed mussels with fresh cilantro

Doing our grocery shopping at Whole Foods, Rick saw a 2lb bag of mussels for $5, pretty hard to resist so I had to improvise a mussel dish but it could not have been easier. I sauteed some garlic in the pan with butter, once they were a pale golden color I threw in the mussels and quickly covered them with veggie broth. After 3-5 minutes they had all given up the good fight and were ready to be devoured. I'm not embarrassed to say that once we had eaten all of the mussels we quickly moved on to the broth slurping it up, YUM!
My take on Bananas foster

Our second course was homemade chili with corn bread, it however was not very photogenic. So on to the third course. I'm a huge fan of sauteed fruit for dessert and bananas have always been the best. I roasted some walnuts in the pan, then added butter, mixed it with some brown sugar to make a caramel like glaze, then once I had the pan really hot I toss in the sliced banana. I like to add some vanilla to really get it sizzling and then I just keep tossing in the pan to get everything evenly coated in sugary goodness and get the bananas nice and soft with a caramelized exterior. This dish is great on its own and feels utterly divine when put on top of vanilla ice cream, or just as decadent (but much healthier) when placed on top of fresh Greek yogurt as shown here.
Best Indian dish ever: Chana Masala

If mussels, chili, corn bread, and roast bananas weren't enough, I decided it would be a great time to make some chana masala to put on cous cous for lunch later in the week. I've been craving Indian food lately and this has always been a favorite dish of mine. Plus, nothing sends away the winter blues like the smells of fresh cilantro, fresh ginger, and a whole heap of garam masala.
Baked salmon with sauteed kale and twice baked potatoes with feta.

Rick and I have been on even more of a cooking streak lately and are constantly discovering new recipes and ingredients that we love. Thanks to Nigella Lawson we can now cook salmon that is consistently delicious (I have a phobia of cooking seafood since it never used to turn out well). This dish just made me feel like such a grown up. Sure I may freak out when I do my taxes all by myself and I have to fight the urge to call my Mom for help, and sometimes I can't understand if the letter from my grad school means I owe them money or they owe me money, but in the kitchen I can cook and eat like an adult!

...oh and one more thing, HAPPY EASTER!!


Busy ... never mind, I won't pun you

Two new things:First, as you can see above, I did my initial foray into needle felting. While he may be the fattest bee you've ever seen, and I haven't put his little bead eyes on yet, I think he's pretty charming. Plus, I have not yet accidentally stabbed my fingers with the INCREDIBLY sharp needle felting needles, so that's a real bonus. The instructions for this little guy came from Wool Pets where there are also many other adorable creatures I will be trying soon.

Oh, I said there were two things, yes? As a librarian I have to be familiar with all kinds of technologies and such, which means I am now experimenting on Twitter so if you want my stream of consciousness inane comments, that would be the place to go!

And while I only said two things I'm going to throw in a third, part of the reason I'm so busy is that I've been trying to get the products going on Cafe Press so please do spread the word as half of the profits will be benefiting the library in Nicaragua that I volunteer with and their fund-raising has been down for the year (big surprise there, right?)


Lulu Abroad on Cafepress!!

Maybe you've seen my photos and thought "I would love that print on a journal, or as a postcard." If so, today is your lucky day. I am officially launching Lulu Abroad and Island Girl merchandise on Cafe Press. Are you excited about the possibilities? Don't worry, I won't hold you in suspense anymore...




so please enjoy and look around, any feedback would be greatly appreciated at this stage.

ALSO: I will be donating 50% of the profits to the San Juan del Sur Biblioteca in Nicaragua (the other 50% will be covering my student loan debt) so just know that you're shopping for a good cause!