Friday, February 28, 2014


Amazing what a kitchen table can do, no matter how small or mismatched, it brings us together.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Red Barn

Don't know if it was happenstance or a little tender mercy.  I knew this place existed, but it was only open on Saturdays and Sundays during the winter, so when driving up to Uvas Reservoir last monday and I saw the "OPEN" sign I knew I had to stop there on our way home.  I had been craving to find a  place like this since we moved here. A place with old things at a great price.  It reminded me of the shed guy in Huntsville, going there each fall and searching for buried treasure.
The old ladders, some painted, some not, the old watering cans, the old windows and doors out front let me know this was going to be exactly the place I had been looking for.
It's called Hoey Ranch and the owner loves what I love, old things, flowers planted in strange containers, funky old kitchen gadgets, wooden crates, old bottles and beautiful old doors and windows. 

I found and purchased this great metal and canvas folding chair. it's really little, almost a kid sized chair, but I love it and it looks great in our little master bedroom.

 A sweet little spice rack already painted in one of my favorite colors.
And an advertisement announcing that I can find treasures like these and more in the coming future. I hope I can take my pregnant self over there and score some really great finds.
There is always a good and bad to all these things, and a tough line to cross when trying to accomplish two conflicting things at once. On the one side we have the goal of getting back on our feet financially after a long time of unemployment. On the other side is trying to make our new little house feel comfortable and make it a home for the time we spend here and that means spending money on those things that make a house a home.  So the good is that Hoey Ranch is just around the corner from our home and the bad is that Hoey Ranch is just around the corner from our home.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Some really great cookies

I love Pinterest for all its' worth. The recipes that are pinned, not so much. I have tried several and they have never quite had the same great result as the pin says. So when I tried these cookies last year I didn't expect much, but these really are my most favorite chocolate chip cookies. They are soft and chewy and I love the bittersweet chocolate. These cookies do not last more than a day in our home and thanks to my new and awesome and quiet hand mixer, these are going to be made more frequently. Thanks to Anna Olson, Food Network Cananda here is the recipe for the
Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract (I use Mexican Vainilla)
2 c. all purpose flour (love the King Arthur brand flour)
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.

3. Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.  Stir in chocolate chips.

4.  Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  (the tops will not brown, but do NOT cook longer than ten minutes.)

5. Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.  Makes approximately 3 dozen. Try not to eat them all.

The bittersweet chocolate chips are getting harder and harder to find in the grocery store, so when I do find them I stock up. Semi-sweet chocolate chips taste great too.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Trip to the beach

I have lived my entire life in Utah, growing up in a family of four kids our vacations consisted of camping in the mountains or trips to Escalante where my father was born, sleeping in a camping trailer while visiting my grandparents. Not once did we venture very far from home.
Once married, Mr. Jewels and I never ventured far from home as well. It was only after being married for 15 years that an opportunity arose for him to travel to Turkey for a school conference and we both took this chance to celebrate our 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th years of marriage by flying across the world and seeing parts of Turkey and Greece. It was amazing.
Now that we are here living in California for the time being we haven't yet ventured far from our house. The beach is a short 40 minute drive on a very curvy road. The kids and I and some of our new friends took a drive out last thursday. The sky was cloudy and the water freezing, but that doesn't deter any of the kids from having fun.  We even spotted some dolphins. When we saw the dolphins, I just couldn't believe it, it was like, how did I get here? am I really at the ocean seeing dolphins and are we really living in this place? It is still all so new and different for me. 

On the drive there and back through a little town called Watsonville, they have a street named after the Tuttles so we just had to take a picture. By the way, Watsonville strawberries are to die for. And lucky for me the Gilroy Costco sells them. So yummy.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Some left over days

Better late than never post
I did get around to making valentine cookies and rolls. The cookies were troublesome without a hand mixer yet, but they of course tasted great.  The rolls were a few simple ingredients blended in the blendtec blender (maybe I should have tried using the blender for the cookies, duh), let rise and bake, they were delicious.  Emeline ate more than her fair share of the rolls, I ate more than my fair share of the cookies.
A beautiful Valentine that Emeline made me. This was the only one I received. It was the best and the only one I needed.

Since we live in the Garlic Capitol of the World, we had to try one of their most popular garlic blue cheese butter spread. Heat it up and it is fantastic on the rolls.

 Sorry, I am playing catch-up on all the things we have done so far. This happened a few weekends ago. We were invited by one of Mr. Jewels co-workers to come up to San Jose State University and watch their wheelchair basketball tournament.

 Now that I am somewhat caught up, it's time to grab a snack and get back to unpacking the last of our things.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The finds and the goings

Not only has moving just been a headache for everyone, but we came out here with just some bare essentials and the extra furniture we moved out of our vacation home. One of the many things we left behind that I regret leaving are a kitchen table, hand mixer and a desk. I don't know what I was thinking when I thought "o those are things we can do without for awhile." I was completely wrong, so the search began for a table and a mixer.  The desk is still being put on the back burner for now.  That can wait a little longer.
It took me weeks to find a table, days of searching craigslist for just the right table at the right price, going to yard sales with no luck whatsoever. Finally a trip to a local thrift store that actually has thrift store prices and there she was, an almost perfect kitchen table that is just waiting for the finishing touches.  I also found a refurbished kitchen aid hand mixer at one of the outlet stores, originally $50.00 for only $20.00.  Can't wait to put it to work.
Next finding was at the Savers in San Jose, which does have great prices, but is a little too far away for me to be frequenting very often.  I couldn't resist getting these little tart pans and jello molds or whatever they may be.
On to the goings...the kids not only had President's Day off, but they have the entire week off of school.  I felt a panic attack coming on, what to do when friends are a min and the area is completely new and the local area attraction is closed until March and the pool water is still too cold.  I guess it's a good time to get to know the area a little better. We found a reservoir not 17 minutes from our house, completely free to get in and the fishing is great, if only we could find our fishing gear. We packed a lunch and some blankets and headed out the door.

 The hike was a leisure walk and the water extremely low, I'm assuming that these trees were once covered with water, but no more, unless it rains, a lot. But there were beautiful big hawks hunting, ground squirrels running from hole to hole and some fishermen with their sons out fishing the lake. I don't know why I never took a picture of the actual water in the reservoir, but it was somewhat pretty.

One day down, just four more to go.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The socks and the baby bump

I love elastic waistbands, long stretchy shirts and skirts, cardigans, long belts and comfy sandals. Not only did I think this was a pretty good outfit, but it was super comfortable. I am 21 weeks along in the picture and feeling good and tired and awkward with this growing belly.
 Since we have been here, we haven't experienced much weather. It rained for a few days in a row, but was still warm. To my surprise we saw this fog walking out the door this morning. It was  beautiful. It reminded me so much of home, the only difference was that this air didn't smell bad and it wasn't freezing.
 I have made a pair of socks for each member of the family and of course two or more pairs for myself. I appreciate them more since I know how much effort I put in to making them, so I deserve more, right? I couldn't wait to start knitting something for the baby and when I came across the pattern for these and saw that I had, amazingly, the right size and type needles, I got started right away.  They work up very quick. I finished this pair before we found out we are having a girl.  I have already finished another sock that is a more appropriate girl color.  They are so cute. Can't wait to finish them.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Weekends

It's weird having what normal people call a normal weekend. And what I mean by that is a Saturday that is not filled with errands, chores, PhD work, church service and what not.  Although we miss our Ogden home and friends, it has been nice to get out and do some exploring with the kids in tow. The first weekend was a trip to ocean, this was before all of furniture was delivered, so it was really nice to get out of the empty house and see this.

 The next weekend we drove up to see the Oakland temple and even though it was closed for cleaning there were still couples up there taking wedding pictures.  I guess it's just a popular place to do a photo shoot even if the marriage is performed elsewhere.  My grandfather on my mother's side worked on the Baptismal Font for this temple so I can't wait to go see it.
The temple grounds already have bulbs popping up

and then over to San Francisco to eat and take a walk along Fisherman's Warf.

Found this while walking the streets of San Francisco (Jewels + Mr. Jewels, how sweet)
 Sam wanted in on this picture as well.